Arrested terrorist David Coleman Headley, who is presently in a Chicago jail, has told Indian interrogators that Lashkar-e-To iba (LeT) top operational commanders Sajid Mir, Abu Hamza and Abu Qahafa escorted the 26/11 attackers aboard the Al Hussaini into Indian territorial waters off the coast of Gujarat in a separate ship. And that one of them killed two of the crew of the fishing trawler, Kuber, before preparing the hijacked vessel to target Mumbai, reports The Indian Express
The NIA report on Headley's interrogation has confirmed the presence of Pakistan Navy divers at the LeT camp who trained the 26/11 attackers in Muzaffarabad. Headley also said, as per the report, that one of the
10 gunmen on the suicide mission to Mumbai was the “nephew” of top LeT weapons and explosive expert Abu Qahafa.
The NIA report, accessed by The Indian Express, has been sent to the National Security Advisor, the PMO and the Ministry of External Affairs.
The report said: “After the attacks Sajid alias Wasi briefed Headley and told him that two of the Kuber crew were killed by him (Sajid). Headley believes that Sajid was speaking the truth as he never blows his trumpet unlike Yousuf alias Muzzamil and Abu Hamza.
Sajid, Qahafa, Abu Hamza and one more person were on the other boat that escorted the main boat (Al Hussaini) carrying the attackers. Abu
Hamza was also involved in the planning and execution in the later stages as he is considered to be an India expert.” According to Headley, Sajid was the personal assistant to Abdur Rehman Maki, son of the maternal uncle of Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed, and “foreign affairs in-charge” of the proscribed organization, before he took over as handler of the US national.
“Sajid had visited several countries including Qatar, UAE, Canada and India using multiple passports and one of his younger brothers was based in Chicago before 2008,” Headley told interrogators.
According to the report, Headley explored the searoute option for the 26/11 attack during his visit to India in 2008. “Prior to this visit in March 2008, Headley had met a frogman (naval commando) in the LeT camp in Muzaffarabad. The frogman was introduced to Headley as Abdur Rehman. Headley believes that the frogman was from Pakistan Navy,” the report said.
Headley also disclosed details of some other terrorist attacks. “He stated that Haji Ashraf's nephew participated in the Akshardham attack in Gujarat in 2002. He did not know the name but identified the nephew of Abu Qahafa as being among the ten attackers in the 26/11 strike. Abu Hamza participated in (the) attack on Indian Institute of Science attack on December 28, 2005 in Bangalore. Hamza is part of Sajid Mir group and Headley had seen him a number of times in Pakistan. Headley identified Azmal as the Indian who trained with him during 2003 in Pakistan. Azmal, according to Headley, belonged to Maharashtra and was arrested in India,” the report said.
Haji Ashraf is the chief financier of LeT with deep links in Saudi Arabia and is currently on the UN 1267 list as an Al Qaeda affiliate.
Interrogation of Headley by NIA has revealed that LeT in conjunction with Pakistan agencies was involved in a number of parallel operations against India using even drug and arms smugglers from Waziristan.
“Headley is aware that in April 2007, Sajid and Muzzamil paid Rs 8.5 lakh to one Niyamat Shah, son of Jeb Shah in Landikotal, Shemakhel, in the Khyber Agency in Pakistan, to smuggle weapons and explosives into India. Niyamat Shah belongs to the Shinwari tribe and has been involved in drug smuggling to India,” the report stated.
Giving details about his India visits, the NIA report says that from his first to seventh visit, Headley carried a camera that belonged to his mother-in-law in Pakistan.
“During his visits to India in April and June 2008, Headley carried a Sony Ericsson mobile phone given to him by Major Iqbal of the ISI and a global positioning system device given by Sajid Mir. He used the same camera/phone for reconnaissance activities in 2009 during his visits to India and Denmark. The mobile phone was seized by the FBI at the Chicago airport last year and two other mobile phones used by the Lashkar operative in Pakistan were also seized at the request of US authorities,” the report said.
During his trips to India, Headley received money transferred by Dr Ta hawwur Rana, under FBI custody for his Lashar links, through a bank located behind Tr ident hotel in Mumbai more than once.
“A part from the places known to us, Headley had conducted detailed videography of some other places in India for future attacks. They include the residence of Vice President of India, India Gate, Paharganj and CBI headquarters in Delhi and El Al (Israeli airlines) office in Mumbai,” the report stated.
The report says that Headley identified some prominent locations on Google Earth map relating to the 26/11 case. “These include the house of Hafiz Saeed, Abdur Rehman Syed Hashim, his own house in Lahore and couple of LeT safe houses in Pakistan,” the NIA has told the government.