Police examining if attackers used fake Malaysian identities

December 1st, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai/New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Investigators probing the deadly Mumbai terror attack are verifying if some of the assailants had used Malaysian addresses and fake passports to rent apartments in the city earlier and also if local assistance was provided.The interrogation of Amir Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive has reportedly revealed that some of the terrorists had carried out reconnaissance missions to Mumbai and passed off as Malaysian students.

“It will be premature to comment on this aspect just now and we have sought help,” said a key police offical involved in the probe.

Malaysia’s national police chief Musa Hassan said his department would check Indian reports that the militants used Malaysian addresses to rent apartments in Mumbai.

“We must check the facts are genuine and the police will go through Interpol. It’s too early to say anything. It’s only a claim,” he told Malaysia’s Bernama news agency.

“Once we obtain the full details on the matter, we will take the neccesary action. Until then we will not interfere in the matter,” he added.

At least 183 people, including 22 foreigners, were killed when a group of terrorists, allegedly from Pakistan, sneaked into Mumbai Wednesday night and struck at several prominent sites, including two luxury hotels.

Police is also trying to corroborate if some of the assailants even stayed in Nariman House, the Chabad Jewish centre, that witnessed a prolonged gun battle lasting over twelve hours before commandos of the National Security Guard killed two of them.

Investigators have established that the attackers deliberately targeted Nariman House, an outreach center meant for local Jews and Jews touring India, specifically to kill Israelis to retaliate for atrocities against Palestinians.

Six people - most Israelis, some dual citizens but all of them Jews - were killed in the attack.

Highly placed sources told IANS that the ease with which the assailants targeted high profile spots in the city and moved in quickly to lay siege demonstrated that knew the topography of south Mumbai well.

Mumbai’s joint commissioner of police Rakesh Maria is already on record saying there could have been “local assistance” that was currently being verified.

Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of India’s flagship conglomerate Tata Group admitted to a television channel that the assilants knew the layout of the hotel well.

“They seem to know their way around the back part of the hotel and the kitchens so one assumes there has been a considerable amount of planning in this operation,” Tata said on Indian television.

However, investigators are divided on whether the group was homegrown, linked to Pakistani militants or even al-Qaeda despite having traced a supposed e-mail sent by the group to Lahore.

According to Michael Clarke, director of the British-based Royal United Services Institute, the assailants might have been linked to al-Qaeda, or at least trained by the group.

“The terrorists were clearly very well trained and well led,” he said in an interview to a British newspaper.

“The way they have been firing their AK47s in short bursts - rather than discharging large amounts of ammunition quickly - shows they have been well taught on how to use the weapons. This kind of thing suggests they have been through the regional Islamist training camps, possibly those run by al-Qaeda.”

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