Attack was suicide mission to create global sensation: Mumbai Police (Second Lead)

December 3rd, 2008 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Dec 2 (IANS) The 10 terrorists who struck at this metropolis last week came from Pakistan on an “absolute suicide mission” aiming to create a worldwide sensation, Mumbai Police said Tuesday.Former army officials had trained the group for over a year, including in viewing and memorising maps of the targeted sites and learning to gain strategic positions during the attacks, Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor said.

“The terror attacks were intended to carry out maximum deaths, especially of foreigners, and to create an international sensation. They were instructed to open fire indiscriminately in the targeted public places,” he told a crowded media conference in his office here.

Though Gafoor declined to speak on the suspected role of Pakistan in the NOv 26 terror attack that claimed 183 lives, he said the only nabbed terrorist, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, is a Pakistani national.

The police chief said that Kasab, along with nine others - who were killed during the 60-hour operation ending Saturday morning - sailed in a ship from Karachi a few days before the attack.

The terrorists hijacked a fishing trawler around 12 nautical miles in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai and forced the vessel pilot to sail towards Mumbai, he said.

After sailing up to four nautical miles away from the Mumbai coast, the terror team got off into a rubber dingy in which it landed at the tiny fishing port near Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai’s Colaba area Wednesday morning, according to Gafoor.

They then split into five pairs and got into separate cabs destined for the targeted locations, he said.

While one group went to the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of the city’s main railway stations, another went to the Oberoi Trident HOtel at Nariman Point. The remaining three groups went to the Taj Mahal hotel, Leopold Café and Nariman House - all in Colaba.

Later, the group that attacked Leopold Café, also managed to enter the Taj, he said.

The locations they had targeted fall in a small area with a radius of around five km in south Mumbai. Comprising the central business district of India’s commercial capital, the area is in a high-security zone in which the Maharashtra legislature and state secretariat are also located.

Each terrorist was heavily armed - one AK-47 army assault rifle, a short rifle, a pistol, several grenades, 10 loaded magazines, and plenty of other ammunition, sophisticated mobile phones, GPS equipment and satellite phones, Gafoor said.

They had also planted five time-bombs, including two in taxis, which exploded, and one bomb each near the Oberoi Trident and the Taj hotels and Leopold cafe.

R.R. Patil, who has stepped down as Maharashtra deputy chief minister and home minister, last week said two bombs, each weighing eight kg, were recovered from the Taj.

The police chief denied they had any “specific” tip-off about the attack or evidence to suggest local support to the terrorists, or the involvement of a woman in the mayhem.

He also declined to speculate on the involvement of any international groups like Al Qaeda in the operation and said the police investigations were open to all facts.

Gafoor said Rs.5,400 in cash was recovered from Kasab and each of the slain terrorists was also carrying between Rs.2,000-4,000 in cash.

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