Terrorist called Pakistan for instructions during fight

Sunday Times:

THE Indian authorities yesterday claimed to have proof that the Mumbai terrorists were receiving instructions from Pakistan and discussing tactics with their handlers during the three days of attacks in which they killed at least 195 people.

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RR Patil, the deputy chief minister of Mumbai’s state government, said there was “proof” that the terrorists were on the phone to someone in Pakistan during the attack.

“All phone calls made by them were tapped. They were being instructed from outside regarding their movement inside the hotel - whether to go upstairs or come down or make a move left or right,” he said.

Patil also claimed that the terrorists had intended to kill at least 5,000 people, making for a greater atrocity than 9/11.

The Pakistan government denied any involvement in the attacks but backtracked on a decision to send the chief of its spy agency to India to help the investigation. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, promised to take the “swiftest of action” if there was evidence the terrorists came from his country.

Yesterday the Indian authorities firmly denied reports that up to seven of the attackers were British. Intelligence sources in the UK said they were unaware of any evidence that British nationals were involved.

Police chiefs in Mumbai confirmed they had been aware as long ago as January that the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning a terrorist spectacular.

The information came from Fahim Ansari, a captured operative for the group, who revealed under interrogation that he had carried out reconnaissance visits to the Taj and Oberoi hotels.

CCTV footage revealed that Ansari had visited the Oberoi. Both hotels said they had received warnings as recently as August about an attack and had stepped up security.

The Indian authorities intercepted a telephone call made from the Arabian Sea less than two weeks ago in which a terrorist suspect was heard saying “we’re coming to Mumbai”.

The Indian coastguard was alerted but Ajmal Aamer Kasav, the surviving gunman, is understood to have told his interrogators the terrorists had switched ships to evade detection. Kasav, who speaks fluent English, told investigators he and his fellow terrorists had trained at a camp at the Mangla dam between Pakistani Punjab and Pakistan-held Kashmir.

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Pakistan should be rounding up those on the other end of the phone call and extraditing them to India. Pakistan should also be raiding the camp where the terrorist trained and rounding up any suspects still there. Doing so could go a long way toward not only relaxing tensions but showing that Pakistan is serious about fighting terrorism emanating from its borders.

The Times of India indicates the terrorist also got some local help.

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