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Local support for 26/11

Local support for 26/11

Author: Rakesh K Singh
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 25, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/158821/Local-support-for-26/11.html

400 Bangladeshis picked up, questioned

Intelligence agencies, investigating the possible involvement of local elements in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, have picked up over 400 illegal Bangladeshis from major cities for interrogation. The comprehensive probe was initiated within a week of the Mumbai attack incident. The wider intelligence operation was launched in order to unravel the entire terror network and cripple the terror outfits active in the country.

The investigations have so far revealed the role of the Bangladeshis associated with the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami and the Indian Mujahideen in providing logistics and ground support to the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba module for executing arguably the most audacious operation in the financial capital of India.

The Bangladeshi 'moles' were used for identification of landing sites for the terror module and reconnoitering of the targets, especially areas with significant presence of Jews and Americans in Mumbai and other cities, sources said.

The agencies have established the role of two Pakistani handlers - Shahid Tufail and Amzad - who were contacted in Karachi via satellite phones during the entire Mumbai operation by the LeT module that attacked the Maharashtra capital. Tufail and Amzad have been associated with the Pakistan-based Sipah-e-Sahaba, a Sunni Islamist outfit known for "cleansing" of the Shias there. The Sipah-e-Sahaba specialises in plotting terror attacks and is also linked to the LeT's frontal organization, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, top intelligence officials said.

Sources said the agencies were probing their association with the Lashkar's modules, which are closely linked to Bangladeshi elements across the country.

Investigations by the intelligence agencies have also revealed that Sheikh Mustafa Abu Yazeed, a well-known Al Qaeda commander, is overseeing terrorist operations in Kashmir, besides in Afghanistan. Yazeed is closely involved with LeT boss Hafeez Saeed for furtherance of jehadi agenda in India and beyond. He had been reportedly killed by the US forces, but has since resurfaced.

The intelligence agencies are yet to conclusively establish Yazeed's role in the Mumbai terror strikes, but the possibility is not being discounted pending further investigations, the intelligence officials said.

After examination of phone call records following the attacks, the gathered data pointed to the possibility of Bangladeshis' role in providing logistics to the terror module that targeted Mumbai through a series of attacks.

The Bangladeshis suspected to have extended local support to the Pakistani terrorists are active mainly in Mumbai, Surat, Murshidabad, Kishanganj and Purnea and were terror sympathisers rising in the ranks of HuJI and Indian Mujahideen. Their interrogation is expected to help the agencies get a grip over the inter-linkages among various Pakistani terror groups active in India, the officials said.

Even as the comprehensive probe of the terror network continues, the intelligence agencies have stepped up monitoring of movements of suspects, hawala operators, bookies and those involved in the illegal narcotics trade. The agencies have kept these suspects under round-the-clock surveillance to generate holistic data on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence-backed terror network and their modus operandi, local linkages and financial patrons, the sources added.

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