Austria, Vienna: Yesterday, Austrian prosecutors said they were probing a possible link between a Pakistani held in Salzburg in connection with last November’s terrorist assaults in Paris and the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.“Leads pointing to this are being looked into,” prosecutors in Salzburg said. Identity of the Pakistani suspect, who has been in custody since December in the western Austrian city, has not been confirmed.
“Wide-ranging investigations on this question, among others, are ongoing, although the public prosecutors’ office has been waiting for information on this from Pakistan since December 2015,” prosecutors said in a statement. A source in Paris and the Sunday Times said that the man is thought to be a bomb maker for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) organisations.
India holds LeT responsible for the 2008 Mumbai assault that killed 166 people. LeJ is blamed for a string of high-profile attacks in recent years. The 34-year-old was arrested in Austria in December along with an Algerian. French investigators suspect that the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which claimed responsibility for the Paris bombings as well as attacks in Brussels on March 22, sent both men to Europe to carry out attacks.
Austrian authorities said in February that they were believed to have been in the same boat bringing around 200 migrants to Greece as two men involved in the Paris atrocities. While those involved in the attacks were able to travel onwards, the pair were held up by Greek authorities for 25 days because they were carrying fake Syrian passports.
They then arrived in Salzburg at the end of November — after the Paris killings — and Austrian police arrested them at a centre for migrants on Dec 10. A senior security official in Pakistan said he had no information. “We are completely in the dark about such a person… who he is, his identity and his affiliations,” the official said.