India arrests suspected top militant Yasin Bhatkal: Reports

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian police have arrested the alleged co-founder of top home-grown militant group the Indian Mujahideen, blamed for a string of attacks in recent years in Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad, reports said on Thursday.

Yasin Bhatkal was arrested on the India-Nepal border near the town of Gorakhpur in northern Uttar Pradesh state, Indian television channels NDTV and CNN-IBN reported, citing unnamed sources.

The banned Indian Mujahideen came to public attention in November 2007 following serial blasts in Uttar Pradesh and is blamed for multiple attacks since in cities across the country in which hundreds of people have been killed.

The group is thought to head a network of home-grown Islamic militant groups, with some analysts believing it has links with the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed militant organisations.

If confirmed it would be another success for the Indian security forces following the arrest earlier this month of another alleged top militant, Abdul Karim Tunda, who is thought to be a senior member of the LeT.

It is not known if the two arrests are linked but Tunda, who was also arrested near the Nepal border, has been cooperating with police, according to newspaper reports.

He is accused of helping mastermind serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993 in which 250 people died, as well as more than 40 other deadly bomb attacks across the country.

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