India executes Mumbai attacker


India has hanged Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the only militant to have survived the 2008 attacks on the financial capital Mumbai, the nation's home ministry said today.

In August, India's Supreme Court upheld Kasab's death sentence over the attack on a string of targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people. Kasab was a Pakistani national.

"Ajmal Kasab was executed at 7.30 this morning," home ministry spokesman KS Dhatwalia said.

The execution at Yerawada Prison in Pune, near Mumbai, came just hours after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy plea by Kasab, who had said he belonged to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.

Many foreigners, some of India's wealthy business elite, and poor train commuters were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre.

Kasab was filmed walking through Mumbai's main train station carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.

India accuses Pakistan-based militants of organising the attacks, saying Islamabad is failing to act against those behind the raids.

Pakistan denies involvement and says it is prosecuting seven suspected militants for their role.