We warned of Mumbai attacks, says US

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The Independent Online

India was warned of a terrorist attack by US intelligence officials before the Mumbai massacre, it emerged today.

A senior official in the Bush administration said today they passed on information that terrorists appeared to be plotting a mostly water-borne attack on India's financial capital.

The news comes with the Indian government already facing widespread accusations of security and intelligence failures after the three-day attack which killed 172 people and wounded 239.

One Indian official admitted it picked up intelligence in recent months that Pakistan-based terrorists were plotting attacks against Mumbai targets.

The information was then relayed to domestic security authorities, said the official. But it is unclear if the government acted on the intelligence.

The famous Taj Mahal hotel, scene of much of the bloodshed, had tightened security with metal detectors and other measures in the weeks before the attacks, after being warned of a possible threat.

Indian officials today continued to interrogate the only surviving attacker, who reportedly told police that he and the other nine gunmen had trained for months in camps in Pakistan operated by the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Meanwhile its government demanded that Islamabad hand over suspected terrorists believed living in Pakistan.

A list of about 20 people - including India's most-wanted man - was submitted to Pakistan's high commissioner to India on Monday night, said India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee.

India has already demanded Pakistan take "strong action" against those responsible for the attacks, and the US has pressured Islamabad to cooperate in the investigation.