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India executes last gunman involved in Mumbai attacks

The execution of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, which Indians celebrated, is not expected to affect relations with Pakistan.

Sam Panthanky/AFP/Getty Images

The execution of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, which Indians celebrated, is not expected to affect relations with Pakistan.

NEW DELHI — Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that left 166 people dead, was hanged Wednesday in a surprise action that analysts in both India and Pakistan said was unlikely to derail improving ties.

Kasab was one of 10 young men who hijacked an Indian fishing boat, killed its captain, took a rubber dinghy into Mumbai, and then systematically attacked high-end hotels, a train station, a hospital, and a Jewish community center over the course of three chaotic days. The 10 were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based terrorist group, and their actions were directed by phone by people in Pakistan. Nine of the attackers were killed by Indian forces, and their bodies were buried in an undisclosed location. Only Kasab survived.

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Pictures of Kasab wearing a black shirt and carrying an automatic weapon played on Indian television channels all day Wednesday, where the execution received blanket coverage. By contrast, news channels in Pakistan gave it considerably less attention, and the Pakistani government offered no official statement.

Tariq Fatemi, a retired Pakistani senior diplomat, said some extremist groups would be angered by the hanging but that many other Pakistanis, including senior government officials, had been ‘‘deeply embarrassed’’ by Kasab and the Mumbai attacks.

Fatemi predicted that the hanging would do little to slow improving ties between the two countries.

“There is a virtual consensus among Pakistan’s mainstream political parties on the importance of keeping the process on the rails and even promoting it,’’ said Fatemi.

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