‘Cash from Haj pilgrims used to fund 26/11’

Saudi Arabia is a major focal point for terrorists financing, according to leaked US cable.

London: Militants often use the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, a confidential US embassy cable published by whistle-blower websitse WikiLeaks says.

A Sky News report cites the New York Times as detailing a long list of possible methods terrorists might have been using to fund their activities. One memo claims militants often used the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the Mumbai bombings.

Other documents have claimed the US believes donors from Saudi Ararbia are "the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide". A memo sent by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2009 referred to the kingdom as a "cash machine" for al Qaeda.

Other countries in the region have also come under fire.

In the leaked cables, the United Arab Emirates is described as having a "strategic gap" that terrorists could exploit, Qatar is seen as "the worst in the region" on counter-terrorism and Kuwait is labelled "a key transit point".

Some confidential cables listed a few infrastructure facilities in the world as "critical" for US security, if attacked by terrorists.

The document details hundreds of pipelines, cables and industrial sites around the world that America deems crucial to securing its interests. Loss of those locations could "critically impact" US security.

According to the secret cable, US embassies were instructed to update a list of key sites in their countries which would "critically impact the public health, economic security and/or national and homeland security of the United States" if they were lost.

The US State Department has condemned the leak of the locations - many of which are in Britain - as "irresponsible", claiming it threatens US national security.


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