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Pakistan Releases U.S.-Wanted Militant Suspect

Hafiz Saeed waves to supporters as he leaves a court in Lahore on November 21
Hafiz Saeed waves to supporters as he leaves a court in Lahore on November 21

Pakistani authorities acting on a court order have released a U.S.-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed.

Hafiz Saeed, who has been designated a terrorist by the U.S. Justice Department, was released before dawn on November 24.

Saeed's spokesman Yahya Mujahid confirmed his release.

Saeed's release from house arrest came after a court on November 22 rejected the provincial government's request for a 60-day extension to his detention.

The move is likely to anger U.S. and Indian officials, who have accused Saeed of helping plan the Mumbai attacks in which 10 gunmen rampaged through India's largest city, shooting up two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, and a train station during a siege that lasted several days.

India accused Pakistan of helping organize the attacks in cooperation with Saeed, who is head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) charity, which U.S. officials say is a front for the banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.

The United States had offered a $10-million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed and has accused Pakistan of offering a safe haven for insurgents operating in neighboring countries.

Pakistan and the JuD have denied involvement in the Mumbai attack.

Based on reporting by AP and