Lakhvi’s arrest only a showcase action to dodge the watchdog

New Delhi, Jan 03: Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Tayiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was on Saturday arrested in Pakistan on terror financing charges, an official said.

The move by Pakistan comes ahead fo the meetings of the Financial Action Task Force in January. 

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26/11 local link and Jundal’s Operation Snake

abujundal_newAbu Jundal had stated in his confession statement that he wanted to be part of the 26/11 attack but was stopped by Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakvhi who wanted him to be part of the control room. However a more interesting fact is that Jundal who also goes by the name Zabiuddin Ansari was at Aurangabad two years prior to the 26/11 attack.

Now this meeting that took place in Aurangabad code named Operation Snake is not some ordinary one. It had the likes of Fayaz Kagzai and Himayat Baig. Baig along with Kagzai was named in the German Bakery blasts case and even handed out the death penalty recently. Kagzai who is also an accused in the German Bakery blasts case was with Jundal both in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and was helping him strengthen the Indian Mujahideen.

Continue reading “26/11 local link and Jundal’s Operation Snake”

‘Maritime training must for every Lashkar operative’

It has almost been a week since the arrest of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal. While on one hand the investigators look for more clues into the 26/11 attack on the other the National Investigating Agency is trying to find out the future plans of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba for India.

A probe update with regard to the 26/11 attack states that Jundal was in the control room along with the other handlers who were commanded by Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakvhi. On the other hand he also told the police that the control room which was set up near the international airport for the attack was immediately destroyed so that no evidence remained in the aftermath of the attack.

Jundal also told the police that for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba it was very important that the operations in the control room went to perfection and hence there were many mock drills that were conducted before they could go in for the actual operation. He said that all the mock drills were conducted at the control room of the Lashkar and the Baitullah Mujahideen. Apart from practising the manner in which they were to give commands they also repeatedly checked phones and also the connectivity. There were at least ten such mock drills and the last one was conducted two days prior to the attack, he also told the police. He also makes a mention of some officers of the ISI who oversaw the operations at the control room.

Jundal also speaks about the maritime training that the terrorists received and said a lot of precedence was given to this part of the planning. He states that there were professionals during this camp and even when he had landed for the first time in Karachi it was mandatory in the Lashkar that they undergo maritime training. He said that post 2005 it had become compulsory for every member in the outfit to take both maritime training and a course in elementary flying. Attacks launched from the land were becoming difficult and hence maritime training had been introduced so that sea borne attacks became a reality. Although there were classes on elementary flying given as well, the Lashkar has been cautious to use this form of an attack immediately.

On the ISI presence, Jundal says that there were many officers around during the attack. However he also says that their identities were never revealed and none were supposed to ask. We just knew that they were from the establishment he said. The police will have a lot more grilling to do before they can make him sing the truth on the role of the ISI and also pin point all those in this agency and the army who helped carry out the attack.

An investigator says that this is a very crucial part of the investigation since Jundal does say that there were officers who were present during the maritime training. Indians have a lurking doubt that the entire maritime wing of the Lashkar is handled by the elite Musa company, the special services group of the Pakistan Army. The maritime training was first conducted by members of the Lashkar at Thakot and Murdike and the final training class was held at Karachi which was directly under the Musa company.

Jundal will be questioned more by the cops on this line and this could also be one of the many clinching evidences to show the involvement of Pakistan in the 26/11 attack.

The other two:

With Jundal there may come a lot of clarity regarding the 26/11 attack. But the police have another terror jigsaw to crack and that would be once they get to interrogate two major operatives- Fayyaz Kagazi from Beed and Rahil Sheikh from Thana. All these three persons were together during the Aurangabad arms haul of 2006. They had planned on stocking weapons in various locations and using them during the attack. However Jundal does not say that the arms used by the ten terrorists during the 26/11 attack were stocked in advance in India and had anything to do with the Aurangabad haul.

India in coordination with Saudi Arabia is trying to lay its hands on these two men. It is believed that the duo are holed up over there and once again the United States of America has provided intercepts regarding these men. The three of them formed a deadly trio and were recruited into the Lashkar almost at the same time. In fact Kagazi who was a senior to Jundal hails from the same village of Beed. It is said that he had introduced him to the Lashkar. They also got in touch with Rahil Shaikh from Thana who also played a crucial role in the Aurangabad case.

Immediately after the arms haul case all three of them left for Karachi. They were said to have been given maritime training and also were taught on collection of intelligence. The training took place in a Lashkar camp based in Karachi. However the name of Kagazi remained a mystery all through, but Rahil Shaikh’s name sprung up during the train bombings.

What does Hamza have on him?

With the arrest of Abu Hamza comes a host of information pertaining to the 26/11 attack. It is a known fact that he played a very crucial role in coordinating the attack and was instrumental in the guiding the attackers who killed over 160 people.

Although the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had worked on a very need to know basis, Hamza was one among the select few who was in the know of the entire operation from day one. The very fact that he was given the coveted role of a handler during the attack would mean that he was in the know of the entire operation in order to guide the attack. As per the investigation, apart from Hamza the other handlers involved in the attack were Muzzamil Bhat, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakvhi, Major Samir Ali and Major Iqbal. Going by these names it does indicate that Hamza is in the know of all these operatives very well and they worked together in order to coordinate the attack.

Hamza according to the IB was very familiar with the layout of the buildings that were attacked during the 26/11 attack. There has been a lurking doubt whether Hamza had visited India prior to the attack or not. However investigations suggest that he apart from guiding the attackers had also laid out an escape plan for the attackers. He was well aware of an escape route in the Taj Mahal Hotel and had advised the attackers to use that route in order to escape.

Further the confessions of David Headley also mentions the name of Hamza along with the other ISI officials who worked on this attack. IB sources say that Hamza will be crucial to the investigation. Being such a high level operative he is sure to have the answers to the likes of the mysterious majors involved in the attack.

IB sources say that there has been a lot of speculation regarding the role played by some ISI officials during the attack and the questioning of Hamza would give a better picture regarding the same.

The other mystery man in the attack is Sajid Mir who is not only wanted by India, but agencies from different parts of the world. While Pakistan has been saying that there is no man such as Sajid Mir, the intelligence in India had specific information that he was kept in a safe house on Airport road in Karachi immediately after the 26/11 attack. India would look to get some details on Mir as well. Looking at the David Headley confession closely it is evident that Mir was very much in Karachi during the attack. Along with Hamza he too had given instructions to the attackers during the attack which gives the indication that both had worked together on the project.

Hamza meanwhile would also help build India’s case against Tawwahur Rana. As per the confession of David Headley, Rana had personally congratulated the handlers of the attack. Whether Hamza had any direct connection with Rana or not is also something that Hamza would be able to confirm during the investigation.

Ajmal Kasab one of the attackers also told the police that during the run up to the operation he was in touch with Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Abu Hamza, Abu Kafa and Abu Jhundal. These meetings with Hamza had taken place at a place called Battal in Pakistan.

During the time of the attack he went by the name Zabiuddin. He spoke fluently in Hindi and this foxed Indian agencies when they listened into the conversation. There was a great deal of confusion regarding the nationality of Hamza. While the confession of Sabahuddin Ahmed claims that he is a Pakistani national, many others suspect that he hailed from Beed in Maharashtra.

IB sources say that he could have trained the 26/11 attackers in speaking Hindi so that they could conceal their identity about being Pakistani nationals. If the police are able to ascertain that he is the same man from India then it would be a big breakthrough in finding the Indian link to the attack