‘Ilyas Kashmiri planned killing Lockheed CEO over drone`

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 22:46

Chicago: The Mumbai attack trial in a US
court resumed on Tuesday with co-accused David Headley testifying
that al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri had a plan to kill CEO of
Lockheed Martin in frustration over drone attacks along the
Af-Pak border.

Headley, a Pakistani-American, said this while being
cross-examined by defence lawyer of Tawahhur Hussain Rana, a
26/11 co-accused and a Canadian of Pakistani origin who is
standing trial after being slapped with a dozen charges in
connection with the Mumbai attacks in which 166 persons were
killed.

"(Ilyas) Kashmiri had plan to kill CEO of Lockheed
Martin to stop any further drone attacks," Headley said,
adding the dreaded al Qaeda leader plotted the killing out of
frustration over the attacks on the volatile Af-Pak border.

Lockheed are manufacturers of drone planes which are
being used by American forces to strike targets at militant
hideouts.

Headley replied in the negative when asked if he was
working on a plot to kill the Lockheed Martin boss.

Headley, who has pleaded guilty in the case, testified
that Kashmiri had arranged for men to carry out surveillance
in the US in connection with the plot to kill the Lockheed
CEO.

He also said that he tried to get a longer visa to stay
in Pakistan through his school friend Aman Rashid who worked
at Pakistan consulate in Chicago.

The trial has so far focussed on the testimony of
Headley who has exposed the nexus between ISI and LeT in
carrying out the Mumbai terror attacks.

As the trial unfolded, more links between ISI and LeT
are emerging with Headley narrating his side of the story that
he started straying away from the so-called "ISI Jihad" with
Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir toward a more "holy jihad" with
Pasha or Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major from the
Pakistani Army, who connected Headley with Kashmiri.

The cross-questioning of Headley is expected to
finish by Wednesday.

After that FBI agents will be presented by the
government at the trial that is being held here on the 19th
floor of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

While Headley has pleaded guilty, Rana has maintained
that he is not guilty in the charge of "support to terrorism".
The trial is expected to last till June 15. If
convicted Rana faces a possible life sentence.

Rana is accused of providing his longtime friend
Headley with cover as he conducted surveillance for the
attacks. Headley has pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork
in the carnage.

Defense attorneys for Rana wasted no time last week
attacking the credibility of Headley, who spent days detailing
for prosecutors how he took orders from ISI and LeT.

"We`re only just getting started," Rana`s attorney Patrick
Blegen told US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber last
week.

Though Rana is on trial, it is Headley`s testimony that
has been highly anticipated, especially in the wake of the
May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces inside
Pakistan and suspicions that the country`s government may
have known or helped hide the former al Qaeda leader.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 22:46

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