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Mumbai attack trial begins, gunman says from Pakistan

THE man accused of being the lone surviving gunman in last year's Mumbai attacks told an Indian court today that he was from Pakistan and wanted legal assistance, a senior police officer said.

In February, police formally charged Mohammed Ajmal Kasab with "waging war" against India, and his trial began today via video link in Mumbai, where armed gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day rampage last November.

"He has confessed that he is from Pakistan and has also asked the court for legal assistance," Rakesh Maria, the chief Indian investigator in the case, told Reuters by telephone.

"The hearing has concluded and the next date of the trial will be known shortly," Maria said.

The attacks on India's financial hub sparked renewed tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, and Islamabad initially denied Kasab was a national before accepting that he was.

India has charged 38 people, including Kasab, in connection with the case.

The charge sheet, which runs to some 11,000 pages, contains accounts of more than 2,200 witnesses as well as other evidence provided by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which helped Indian police with the probe.

Those charged as key planners of the attacks included Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the militant Islamist Lashkar-e-Taiba group India says was behind the attacks, and other senior Lashkar members Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah.


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