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Pakistan-based rebel group is targeting nuclear facilities: India

NEW DELHI (AP)- India’s defense minister on Monday repeated a warning that Islamic militants based in Pakistan were targeting Indian nuclear, military and religious sites, a news agency reported.

Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee told lawmakers that militants from Lashkar-e-Tayabba – a group believed to have links to al-Qaida – “are planning to carry out some strikes on critical infrastructure items, military targets and religious places,” according to the Press Trust of India.

There’s also intelligence reports indicating Lashkar is planning to attack nuclear installations in India, Mukherjee said.

His comments came three days after National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan issued a similar warning, which was dismissed by Islamabad as an Indian attempt to defame Pakistan.

Lashkar is among the groups suspected of taking part in a string of bombings in India, including the July 11 Bombay train bombings, which killed 207 people.

Mukherjee told Parliament the government was taking the latest threats seriously.

“Necessary steps are being taken to protect our vital installations and other high-profile targets,” he said, without elaborating.

Banned in Pakistan and but reportedly still operating there openly, Lashkar is among the more than a dozen Islamic rebel groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. The rebels want the territory to be independent or merged with Pakistan, and New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of providing material aid and training to the insurgents. Pakistan says it only gives them diplomatic and moral support.

About 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it began in 1989.


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