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State Department calls for arrest of Pakistan cleric Saeed

By Ed Adamczyk
State Department calls for arrest of Pakistan cleric Saeed
The release from house arrest of Hafiz Saeed, L, on Friday led to a U.S. State Department statement calling for his arrest. Saeed is suspected of masterminding coordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 166 people in 2008. Photo by Rahat Dar/EPA

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The State Department called on Pakistan to arrest a cleric accused of masterminding a 2008 terrorist attack in India after his release from detention Friday.

Hafiz Saeed was released from 11 months of house arrest in Lahore on Friday, following a court order. A judicial panel ruled that evidence against him was insufficient and that he should not be confined for 90 more days. Saeed allegedly devised the plot in which coordinated gunfire and bombing attacks in Mumbai killed at least 166 people, including American citizens, in 2008.

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The U.S. State Department is "deeply concerned" over Saeed's release, State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuart said in a statement on Friday, citing the Mumbai attacks.

"The Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes," the statement added.

The United Nations designated Saeed a terrorist, as leader of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba organization of Islamic insurgents. The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

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Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity run by Saeed, said his release was evidence of his innocence. The United States and the United Nations have called the charity an illegal front for terrorism.

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