Ten years ago, Mumbai witnessed one of the deadliest and well-planned terror attacks to have ever happened in India.
The attack that claimed approximately 166 lives and wounded hundreds more was an outcome of a year-long planning by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Here are some facts revealed by the handyman of the group, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on the blueprint developed for the attack.
Headley, who is currently serving 35 years of prison term in the United States for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had conducted recce for the LeT of various places in Mumbai. He claims that the outfit had initially planned to attack a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel. However, the plan was later altered.
As per the instructions of LeT commanders, he covertly surveyed the famous Siddhivinayak Temple and Naval air station during his initial visits to India. For the purpose of surveillance, he travelled over 5 times to Mumbai in September 2006, February and September 2007 and April and July 2008
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The videos which were claimed by the security agencies as the foundation of the Mumbai attacks were the footages shot by Headley. It had the clips of the Taj hotel in Mumbai, which was attacked by 10 LeT terrorists and the potential targets for their future attack, including the residence of the Vice-President and India Gate.
In 2006, he had even changed his name from Daood Gilani to easily move in and out of India without raising any suspicion.
The book, The Mind of a Terrorist: The Strange Case of David Headley by Kaare Sorensen states Headley, in his report to LeT, was able to narrow down more than 20 targets for terror attacks in India. As for Mumbai, roughly 50 hours’ video was something he successfully delivered.
His revelations do not stop here. Talking about the funding and other financial assistance for the attack, he confirmed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was helping different terror outfits in Pakistan by providing aids, military and moral support.
ISI’s Major Iqbal was Headley’s major source of financial aid. Iqbal supplied the latter with counterfeit Indian currency once or twice in 2008 along with frequent monetary assistance.
According to a report, Headley also identified the 2008 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and revealed that Saeed directed him on how to carry out his work. He also said that two terror attack attempts were made before 26/11, but they failed.
One of the people named by Headley was Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian member of the LeT. Headley said that Rana visited Mumbai before the terror attacks.
Headley was made an approver in 2015 by a Mumbai court which granted him pardon in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case. He had told the court that he was ready to depose if given pardon.