Lahore attack: Police probe finds security lapses

March 6th, 2009 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 6 (IANS) A probe into the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore has attributed the assault to security lapses and has also identified its perpetrators, a media report Friday said.
An interim report on the incident, Geo TV said, points to “very vivid” security lapses which allowed 12 terrorists armed with automatic weapons to ambush the Sri Lankan cricketers team and escape.

“It reveals that there were no security personnel to (provide) route clearance on the wireless. According to the report, security arrangements for the Sri Lankan team were adequate but no similar security arrangements were taken on the route,” the channel said.

The report also reveals that the arms and explosives used in the ambush were sophisticated and factory made.

Eight Pakistanis, including six security personnel, and six cricketers were injured in the Tuesday assault.

Meanwhile, investigators are believed to have contacted Hafeez Saeed, who heads the Jamaatud Dawa that the Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) had morphed into after being banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001 terror attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi blamed on the terror group.

This is in spite of the fact that Interior Minister Rehman Malik said there was no link between the Lahore attackers and LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who was arrested during a crackdown in December in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai that India says Lakhvi planned.

But, as Dawn.com reported Friday, with no Indian footprint evident in the Lahore attack, investigators are focusing on the involvement of “headstrong” LeT activists in the outrage.

“Sketchy details of the initial probe suggest that a group of headstrong Lashkar activists, who went underground and remained in hiding in Rawalpindi after the crackdown on Lashkar and Jamaatud Dawa in December, had acted on their own and carried out the attack,” Dawn.com said.

“Although officials would not confirm the involvement of Lashkar, they categorically ruled out the possibility of involvement of the Indian spy agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as no evidence has been found so far pointing in their direction,” it added.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had Thursday said that no evidence had been found “so far” about the involvement of the RAW in the Lahore attack.

According to Dawn.com, the investigators involved in the Lahore probe “believe” that the attackers got their commando training in Lakhvi’s camp “as their modus operandi had similarities with the Mumbai attackers”.

“Investigators believed that one of the (Lahore) attackers had assured the chief suspect in Mumbai terror attacks (Lakhvi) that his followers would take revenge against Pakistani authorities for his arrest and subsequent trial,” Dawn.com said.

There has been speculation in the Pakistani media that the actual target during the Lahore attack was not the Sri Lankan team but a group of foreign umpires and other officials who were travelling by another bus.

The aim, apparently, was to kidnap these officials and hold them to ransom to demand Lakhvi’s release.

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