‘LeT handlers guided 26/11 attackers watching TV’

Watching the 2008 Mumbai carnage live from Pakistan, terror outfit LeT handlers guided the attackers on phone and even asked them to change tactics to challenge the advancing commandos.

Last Updated: May 25, 2011, 23:35 PM IST

Chicago: Watching the 2008 Mumbai carnage
live from Pakistan, terror outfit LeT handlers guided the
attackers on phone and even asked them to change tactics to
challenge the advancing commandos.

The strategy followed during the 60-hour siege of Mumbai
emerged during the testimony of 26/11 co-accused David Headley
in a Chicago District Court on the third day of the trial of
his childhood friend and Pakistani-Canadian Tawahhur Rana.
Rana has been slapped with a dozen charges in connection
with the November 2008 attack in which 166 persons were killed
while Headley, a Pakistani-American and a star prosecution
witness, has pleaded guilty.

Headley told the court that his Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT)
handler Sajid Mir was in Karachi during the Mumbai attack.
Sajid Mir told Headley that a couple of people were with him.

Sajid Mir was in contact with the attackers via phone
and he was watching TV coverage of the siege and seeing what
was going on in India, he said.

Sajid Mir was praised by Rana for his Chhabad House
attack strategy and even called him Khalid bin Walid, one of
the greatest Generals in history, Headley testified.

About the operation at Chhabad House in Mumbai, Headley
said Sajid Mir told the two boys(attackers) to use mattresses
and ambush the Special Forces who were descending down the
staircases. Six people were killed in the attack on Chhabad
house, a Jewish community centre.
According to Headley, a Pakistani-American, Rana said
this strategy was tactically brilliant and that he be called
Khalid bin Walid, a famous Arab military strategist during the
times of Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century.

Headley also said he told Sajid Mir that he has received
a compliment from Rana for his "tactical brilliance."

Headley also said that Rana sent message for him
from Major Iqbal, who was his ISI handler. This was before he
took the last trip to Mumbai for surveillance ahead of the
attacks.

Headley said Sajid Mir expressed his frustration that
he did not follow all his instructions--one was "I was not
suppose to go back to India after the Mumbai attack and travel
to Denmark."

Headley told Rana his four targets were Somnath - an
ancient temple in Gujarat, Bollywood(the Indian movie
industry) Shiv Sena and Jyllands Posten, the Danish newspaper
which published the controversial cartoons of Prophet
Mohammed.

On his discussion with Rana, Headley said "Rana told
me to stop doing what I was doing and he was offering me a job
at his farm."

"I spoke to Rana about four targets and he said `If you
did those four targets you are still not going to stop,` "
Headley said recalling what Rana told him.

Rana also said that the nine of the 10 Mumbai attackers
who died should be given Nishan-e-Haidar (Pakistan`s highest
military bravery award), according to Headley.

Headley also talked about his conversation with another
of his Pakistani handlers Pasha and the new email he would
create.

While Headley was reading his own transcripts, the
federal prosecutor was reading that of Pasha.

Headley also said, "Major Iqbal went to my house in
Lahore in Pakistan, my employee told me over there."

Headley during his testimony to the government
prosecutor said that he had sent some emails to Rajaram Rege
of Shiv Sena. Yesterday, he spoke of a plot involving LeT and
ISI to assassinate Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

PTI