.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;}.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;}ISTANBUL - The fallout from a three-day rampage that killed nearly 200 people in Mumbai prompted the resignation of India's top security officials yesterday and threatened to unravel improving ties with nuclear rival Pakistan.

While New Delhi said it was raising security to a "war level," Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil and national security adviser M.K. Narayanan have submitted their resignations in the wake of the terror attacks, which unleashed anger at home over the intelligence failure and delayed response to frenzied violence that paralyzed India's financial capital.
The home minister wrote to Premier Manmohan Singh that he took "moral responsibility" for the assault by militants. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram was appointed to take over Patil's job and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take over the finance portfolio for now, reported Reuters news agency citing government officials.

But the resignations of the home minister and security adviser may not be enough to satisfy critics.
Newspaper commentaries blasted politicians for failing to prevent the attacks and for taking advantage of its fallout before voting in Delhi and national polls due by May.

As commandos gunned down the last of the militants on Saturday, TV channels were divided between covering the operations and an outpouring of venom against both the ruling Congress party-led coalition and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

"Our politicians fiddle as innocents die," the Times of India said in a front-page comment. It said while the attacks engulfed Mumbai and hundreds were held hostage, saving them took precedence. "But today, as heaps of bodies lie in morgues ... it is time to ask our politicians, are you going back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours?"

With tensions escalating in South Asia, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari urged India not to "over-react" after Indian and U.S. officials suggested the gunmen could have been members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is fighting Indian control of the disputed Kashmir region.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials told Agence France-Presse that evidence was emerging that Lashkar could have been behind the attacks, while one militant holding hostages in a Jewish cultural center in Mumbai had suggested that the treatment of Muslims in Indian Kashmir was a "prime motivation" behind the attack.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Singh is seeking support for a crime-fighting agency modeled on the FBI and tougher anti-terrorism laws, reported Bloomberg. Singh called a meeting for yesterday in New Delhi with all the political parties in Parliament to discuss the measures. In Washington on Saturday, President George W. Bush pledged U.S. help to investigate the deadly assault.