CALCUTTA, India – Indian police arrested two men accused of providing mobile phone cards to the gunmen in the Mumbai attacks, the first known arrests in the probe since the siege ended, police said Saturday.
The two men allegedly provided SIM cards to the group of 10 gunmen that attacked Mumbai last week, leaving 171 people dead, said Javed Shahim, a senior police official in the eastern city of Calcutta in West Bengal.
Shaim said one of the men was from West Bengal and the other was from the Indian portion of Kashmir.
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Indian authorities believe the banned Pakistani-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has links to the disputed region of Kashmir, trained the gunmen and plotted the attacks.
The Kashmiri suspect was believed to be a local police officer, according to a police official in Srinagar, the region's biggest city, who declined to be named because the matter was still under investigation.
The men were arrested Friday night, but Shahim declined to offer further details. He was expected to speak to the press Saturday afternoon.
The arrests could represent further evidence of homegrown ties to the attacks, which would be a blow to Indian officials who have blamed the siege against 10 sites across Mumbai entirely on Pakistani extremists.
Earlier, police said they were investigating another Indian national, Faheem Ansari, who was arrested in February in north India carrying hand-drawn sketches of hotels, the train terminal and other sites that were later attacked in Mumbai.
The lone surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks is also under police custody.