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India Names Mumbai Mastermind

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Maikeru-sama, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    DECEMBER 3, 2008
    India Names Mumbai Mastermind

    By GEETA ANAND, MATTHEW ROSENBERG, YAROSLAV TROFIMOV and ZAHID HUSSAIN
    MUMBAI -- India has accused a senior leader of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of orchestrating last week's terror attacks that killed at least 172 people here, and demanded the Pakistani government turn him over and take action against the group.

    Just two days before hitting the city, the group of 10 terrorists who ravaged India's financial capital communicated with Yusuf Muzammil and four other Lashkar leaders via a satellite phone that they left behind on a fishing trawler they hijacked to get to Mumbai, a senior Mumbai police official told The Wall Street Journal. The entire group also underwent rigorous training in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the official said.

    Mr. Muzammil had earlier been in touch with an Indian Muslim extremist who scoped out Mumbai locations for possible attack before he was arrested early this year, said another senior Indian police official. The Indian man, Faheem Ahmed Ansari, had in his possession layouts drawn up for the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel and Mumbai's main railway station, both prime targets of last week's attack, the police official said.

    Mr. Ansari, who also made sketches and maps of locations in southern Mumbai that weren't attacked, had met Mr. Muzammil and trained at the same Lashkar camp as the terrorists in last week's attack, an official said.

    U.S. officials agreed that Mr. Muzammil was a focus of their attention in the attacks, though they stopped short of calling him the mastermind. "That is a name that is definitely on the radar screen," a U.S. counterterrorism official said.

    Information gathered in the probe also continues to point to a connection to Lashkar-e-Taiba, that official said. Along with a confession from the one gunman captured in the attacks, officials cited phone calls intercepted by satellite during the attacks that connected the assailants to members of Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, and the recovered satellite phone from the boat.

    It also emerged Tuesday that U.S. authorities had warned Indian officials of a pending attack by sea. Hasan Gafoor, Mumbai police commissioner, told reporters there was a general warning issued in September that hotels could be targeted as well, after the bombing of the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad.

    Two militants arrested in early 2007 also told police officials then that they were part of a band of eight Lashkar members who slipped into India by boat from Karachi, Pakistan, and made their way to Mumbai, an Indian police official in Kashmir said in an interview Tuesday. The group broke into pairs -- just as last week's attackers did -- and made their way north using safehouses provided by local sympathizers, the police official said.

    The evidence cited by investigators is giving fresh ammunition to the Indian government, which has long tried to pressure Pakistan into cracking down on Lashkar-e-Taiba. India claims the group enjoys support from elements of the Pakistani intelligence agency. Pakistan denies that and outlawed the organization in 2002, but has done little to curtail its operations.

    Mr. Muzammil's name is on a list of people -- numbering about 20 in all -- that India gave Pakistan earlier this week, demanding their immediate extradition, a senior Pakistani official told the Journal. The official said Pakistan was examining India's list of suspects and has assured New Delhi that action would be taken against them if there is evidence of involvement in the attacks.

    Any move by the shaky civilian government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari against Lashkar-e-Taiba could create a huge backlash, however, particularly from Islamic groups, said a senior official in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani convened a meeting of all of the country's political parties in the capital to develop a joint response to Indian demands for extradition.

    "The government of Pakistan has offered a joint investigation mechanism and we are ready to compose such a team which will help the investigation," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a televised statement. Mr. Qureshi, however, declined to say whether Pakistan would hand over any of those sought by India.

    The Mumbai attacks have ratcheted up tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, who have been exchanging verbal fire for the past several days and sparking fears of a conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to arrive in India Wednesday, as is Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Indian authorities say evidence highlights how Lashkar has broadened its operations to include recruitment of both Indian and Pakistani Muslim extremists.

    Lashkar-e-Taiba -- literally Army of the Good -- has been implicated by Indian officials in several recent terrorist attacks on Indian soil. The group initially focused on fighting the Indian army in the disputed state of Kashmir. Over the years, it has expanded its cause into the rest of India and aims to establish Islamic rule.

    India has told Pakistan that the latest attacks in Mumbai were masterminded by Mr. Muzammil, aided by others in Lashkar's senior ranks including an operative named Asrar Shah, according to a senior Pakistani official. Mr. Muzammil, a Pakistani in his mid-30s, became head of Lashkar-e-Taiba's anti-Indian planning cell some three months ago, according to Dipankar Banerjee, director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, an independent think tank in New Delhi. Indian authorities believe he is in Pakistan but officials there haven't acknowledged that.

    India also claims the attacks were approved by Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, the Pakistani official said. Mr. Saeed is the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the parent organization of the Lashkar group. Mr. Saeed, who is free in Pakistan, denied the accusations. "India has always accused me without any evidence," he told Pakistan's GEO News television channel.

    Indian investigators -- helped in part by the testimony of the one terrorist they captured alive, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab -- say they now possess solid proof. "We have made substantial progress in the investigation," said A.N. Roy, director general of the State Police of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located.

    According to Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor, Mr. Kasab told interrogators that he and fellow gunmen spent between a year and 18 months in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp

    The 10 militants left Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Nov. 23 aboard a ship called the Al Husseini, which also carried a crew of seven, another senior police official said. Investigators believe that all the 10 gunmen were Pakistani because they spoke Punjabi or Punjabi-accented Urdu.

    When they entered Indian waters, the terrorists hijacked a fishing trawler called the Kuber and took its five crew members prisoner. The terrorists transferred four of them to the Al Husseini and they were subsequently killed, police believe. The terrorists kept the Kuber's lead crewman alive and sailed close to Mumbai.

    The terrorists abandoned the Kuber in haste, fearing detection by an approaching vessel, the senior police official said. In the process, they forgot their satellite phone on the Kuber. Investigators found in the call log the numbers of five people, including Mr. Muzammil, two of his deputies and his personal aide, the senior police official said. Indian officials had already intercepted phone conversations made while the terrorists were traveling to Mumbai.

    Indian Muslim leaders are skeptical of Lashkar's reach into India. But police say Lashkar has increasingly sought contacts and recruits among Indian extremists. In October, for instance, five Muslims from the southern state of Kerala were recruited into Lashkar-e-Taiba and traveled to the Indian part of Kashmir, according to T.K. Vinod Kumar, Kerala's deputy inspector-general of police. They tried to cross the line of control that runs between India and Pakistan and reach training camps on the Pakistani side.

    Four among the group were killed in a firefight with the Indian military during that attempt. The fifth, construction worker Abdul Jabbar, was arrested two weeks ago, Mr. Kumar says.

    Unlike other Pakistani-based jihadist organizations, Lashkar draws its recruits across a broad social spectrum, from universities as well as among unemployed youths. The majority come from Punjab; Mr. Kasab used to live in the Punjabi village of Faridkot, according to Indian investigators.

    In March 2007 when two militants were arrested in the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir, the pair told police that Lashkar was looking to start slipping people into India from the sea to avoid heavily guarded land borders. The sea also provided a winter route to Kashmir for Lashkar members, when high mountain passes crossing to India's part of the state are often blanketed by deep snow.

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  2. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    Moderator, please change the title to "India Names Mumbai Mastermind"
  3. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    If the Indian Government is 100% sure that the Pakistan Government is enabling and outright supporting terrorists, they have a right to take action against their neighbor for the purpose of protecting their citizens and National Security.

    I gurantee you if the United States thought that Mexico or Canada was doing the same thing to us that Pakistan is doing to India, we would have already taken action.

    The United States should in no way be in India telling them not to take action, if India is quite certain that terrorism is being supported by elements in the Pakistani government and this latest incident can be tied to them.
  4. WarC

    WarC Active Member

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    This is worth keeping an eye on because it is the type of situation that could quickly escalate into war.

    It might already have, if not for the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed nations. They've come to the brink several times, including a few years before 9/11. There are border skirmishes between the two countries fairly routinely.
  5. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    It's amazing how such a blatantly wrong action can become embroiled in complex and ambiguous politics to the point where the ultimate fate of these criminals remains uncertain. I guess that's the world we live in now.

    Thanks for the article. It was an informative read.
  6. vlad

    vlad Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    It's amazing how much bad comes out of Pakistan... It seems western nations are just now starting to realize. Look at Pakistan compared to say India or Israel which all got independence around the same time and look at the profession economically, socially, or otherwise.
  7. WarC

    WarC Active Member

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    Saddest part is that Pakistan is one of the more moderate and advanced of the muslim religious states.
  8. JiggsCasey

    JiggsCasey Benched

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    war IS coming there.... i'll say within 6 months.... and with the distraction, Israel will strike at Iran...

    it's all but inevitable now...

    have i mentioned Peak Oil?

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