US intelligence: Lashkars Muzammil could be involved in Mumbai terror strike

December 3rd, 2008 - 12:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Mumbai, Dec.3 (ANI): American intelligence officials have agreed with their Indian counterparts that Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Yusuf Muzammil is the focus of their attention in connection with the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week.
Muzammil, a Pakistani in his mid-30s, is the head of the Lashkar-e-Toiba’’s anti-Indian planning cell.
Though they stopped short of calling him the mastermind, a counter-terrorism official said: “That is a name that is definitely on the radar screen.”
Information gathered in the probe also continues to point to a Lashkar-e-Toiba connection, he added.
Theres very little doubt that the LeT is responsible, but beyond that we need to learn more, said a senior American official, who was briefed on the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, citing its continuing nature.
Along with a confession from the one gunman captured in the attacks, U.S. officials cited phone calls intercepted by satellite during the attacks that connected the assailants to the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan.
India has accused Muzammil of orchestrating last week’’s terror attacks and demanded that the Pakistan Government turn him over and take action against the LeT.
Indian officials claim that just two days before hitting Mumbai, the terrorists communicated with Muzammil and four other Lashkar leaders via a satellite phone that they left behind on a fishing trawler they hijacked to get to Mumbai.
A senior Mumbai police official told The Wall Street Journal that the entire group also underwent rigorous training at a Lashkar-e-Toiba camp in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.
He said that Muzammil had earlier been in touch with an Indian Muslim extremist who scoped out Mumbai locations for possible attack before he was arrested early this year.
The Indian man, Faheem Ahmed Ansari, had in his possession layouts drawn up for the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and Mumbai’’s main railway station, both prime targets of last week’’s attack, the police official said.
Ansari, who also made sketches and maps of other locations in southern Mumbai that weren”t attacked, had met Muzammil and trained at the same Lashkar camp as the terrorists in last week’’s attack, an official said.
The evidence cited by investigators is giving fresh ammunition to the Indian government, which has long tried to pressure Pakistan into cracking down on Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are expected to issue stern warnings to the Government of Pakistan to crack down on militant groups in Pakistan. (ANI)

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