Q+A: Key facts about the Mumbai attacks and their fallout

NEW DELHI Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:56am EST

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Exactly a year ago, 10 Pakistan-based gunmen attacked India's financial capital, killing 166 people in an assault that led to a dramatic deterioration in relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Here are some questions and answers about the attacks.

WHAT HAPPENED IN MUMBAI?

On the evening of November 26, 10 men landed on the Mumbai waterfront carrying automatic rifles and heavy backpacks stuffed with bullets and grenades for an attack that would transfix the world for the next three days.

They landed from an inflatable rubber boat after crossing much of the Arabian sea from Karachi in a fishing trawler they hijacked by slitting the throat of its captain.

Then they split up in pairs and headed for some of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, unleashing an assault that continued until commandos ended the siege three days later.

In the end, 175 people were dead, including nine of the attackers. Police captured one suspected gunman alive.

WHO PLANNED THE ATTACKS?

Throughout the raid, the attackers received instructions over the telephone, leaving a trail of evidence that led Indian investigators to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a group fighting Indian rule in the disputed region of Kashmir.

India also blamed shadowy figures in Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment for backing the militants, a charge Islamabad denied. New Delhi named 38 people in an 11,000-page charge sheet filed in a Mumbai court in February.

The scope of investigations widened after U.S. officials arrested two people last month, including a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin, on charges of plotting attacks in Denmark and India. Indian media reported the man, David Headley, was an LeT operative and may have had knowledge of the Mumbai attacks.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MILITANTS ?

While the bodies of nine attackers lie in a Mumbai morgue, the man accused of being the lone surviving gunman is facing trial, and possibly the gallows.

As for those accused of planning the raid, a Pakistan court indicted seven Pakistani suspects this week. Those charged did not include LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who India has named as the mastermind of the attack.

Saeed was put under house arrest briefly and the offices of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity he headed, closed. But many in India believe JuD has re-emerged under another name while Saeed remains free.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT ON INDIA-PAKISTAN TIES?

The attacks plunged relations between India and Pakistan to new lows and New Delhi broke off a peace process begun in 2004. The tension threatened to disrupt U.S.-led plans to stabilize Afghanistan when Islamabad considered moving troops from the northwest to bolster its border with India.

But the two countries have since made incremental progress in repairing relations, thanks in part to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's push for dialogue.

New Delhi, however, has ruled out the resumption of normal relations unless Islamabad acts against the planners of the Mumbai attack and cracks down on anti-India groups operating on Pakistan soil.

(Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Paul Tait)

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