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Indian court finds 3 guilty in 2003 Mumbai bombing

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[July 27, 2009]  MUMBAI, India (AP) -- An Indian court on Monday found two Muslim men and a woman guilty in twin bombings that killed 52 people and wounded 100 in the country's financial capital, Mumbai, six years ago.

Two taxis carrying explosives blew up within minutes of each other Aug. 25, 2003, at the Gateway of India, a popular tourist attraction on the waterfront, and at a busy shopping complex.

The bombings were one of the worst attacks in Mumbai's history. No one else has been charged.

Ashrat Shafiq Mohammed Ansari, Syed Mohammed Haneef Abdul Rahim and his wife Fahmeeda Syed Mohammed Haneef were arrested under India's tough anti-terrorism law shortly after the attacks.

The charges against the three included murder, conspiracy to kill and damaging public property. They had pleaded not guilty.

Judge M.R. Puranic said all three were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned, Pakistan-based militant group formed in the 1980s -- with the alleged blessing of Pakistani intelligence -- to sow trouble in the disputed Kashmir region. The three denied involvement with the group.

Indian investigators have also blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, when 10 armed gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day rampage.

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The judge said the three would be sentenced in early August.

Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor, said he will seek the death penalty for them.

Three others had been arrested in connection with the attacks but were released without any charges being filed.

[Associated Press; By RAJESH SHAH]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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