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India capture master terrorist in Nepal

Indian policemen in plain clothes surround Abdul Karim alias Tunda, centre in white cap.

Indian policemen in plain clothes surround Abdul Karim alias Tunda, centre in white cap. Photo: AP

One of the subcontinent's most wanted terrorists, alleged to have masterminded and carried out more than 40 bomb attacks, has been captured by police after nearly two decades on the run.

Abdul Karim, a bomb-maker and ideologue of Lashkar-e-Taiba known as Tunda or "cripple" because of his missing left arm, was arrested in Kathmandu on Friday and handed over to Indian authorities on the India-Nepal border.

70-year-old Indian-born Abdul Karim's name has been at, or near, the top of India's most wanted lists for 19 years, as he evaded arrest travelling between Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh on false passports.

He is wanted for masterminding 43 bomb blasts in and around Delhi since 1992, which killed 20 people and injured more than 500.

Between 1994 and 1998, it is alleged he built 21 bombs set off in the Indian capital alone, including a blast at police headquarters in 1997 that left 50 injured.

He is alleged to be an expert at making improvised explosives from household goods, but lost his arm in an explosives accident decades ago.

In recent years, he has risen in the Lashkar-e-Taiba hierarchy to the role of ideologue and recruiter of suicide bombers.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, Urdu for Army of the Righteous, is a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organisation, with links to al-Qaeda and other militant networks. It is responsible for attacks on the Indian parliament, and for the 2008 attack on the city of Mumbai that killed 164 people.

LeT was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Australia in 2003.

Abdul Karim was seen as one of LeT's key operatives, and his arrest has been hailed as a major coup by Indian security forces.

Dressed in white kurta-pyjama and prayer cap, and with his long beard dyed red, Abdul Karim did not speak when paraded before Indian media in New Delhi.

He will face court this week.

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