LONDON, Nov 28, 2008 -- British detectives are in Mumbai investigating reports that several of the assailants in this week's attack were British-born men of Pakistani descent.
Britain's security services are working "intensively" with Indian authorities to establish their identities, officials said.
"It's too early to say whether or not any of them are British," the Foreign Secretary David Milliband told reporters today. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
"At no point has the prime minister of India suggested to me that there is evidence at this stage of any terrorist of British origins, but obviously these are huge investigations that are being done and I think it will be premature to draw any conclusions at all," Brown said.
British detectives are on the ground in Mumbai, studying images of the attackers. Indian police have recovered identity and credit cards from the gunmen arrested and killed, which might establish their nationalities. The attacks had "external links," according to India's prime minister.
Indian authorities believe 25 gunmen were involved in the attacks that brought terror to India's financial capital. There are now unconfirmed reports that as many as seven of them are British-born.
Three of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people on London's trains and buses in July 2005 were born in Britain.
Eight men charged with plotting to blow up transatlantic airliners in August 2006 were also all British-born, and last week a CIA missile strike in Pakistan reportedly killed another British-born Muslim, Rashid Rauf, the alleged mastermind behind that plot, which never got out of planning stages. Rauf, like many of Britain's suspected terrorists, maintained close links with Pakistan. Rauf and others are believed to have trained in Pakistan.
The chilling martyrdom videos of the London bombers were recorded in Pakistan. The bombers themselves had strong English accents.
There are 750,000 people of Pakistani descent living in Great Britain. Many of them live in industrial towns in the north of England, drawn originally by the opportunity of work in Britain.
The tiny minority of radicals bent on terror are nearly all second- or third-generation immigrants, born and raised in Britain. British authorities are struggling to root out the firebrand clerics who are accused of radicalizing their followers.
The invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Iraq and the Indian presence in Kashmir are all cited by this tiny minority of British Muslims as justification for terror.