British intelligence fingers US Citizen in India Bombing

By | November 25, 2009

British intelligence fingers US Citizen in India Bombing

British intelligence tipped off the American authorities over a suspect in the Mumbai bombings, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

David Coleman Headley, also known as Daood Sayed Gilani, made frequent visits to the Indian city where he mixed with the Bollywood set as a cover for his activities, it is claimed.

He joined a local gym in the upmarket Breach Candy area and stayed at the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the targets, in April and May 2007.

According to a US indictment, Headley, 49, was a freelance reconnaissance agent for terrorist groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the Mumbai attacks a year ago.

Intelligence sources have told the Daily Telegraph that British officers collected the vital information that identified Headley, a US citizen living in Chicago who was arrested in October. They declined to give further details.

British intelligence was also responsible for the arrest of another US terrorist suspect, Najibullah Zazi, 24, who was allegedly planning attacks on the New York subway when he was arrested in Denver in September.

Investigators in India are still trying to piece together Headley’s activity in the country around the crucial period, when he posed as a businessman running an immigration service.

He is said to have befriended a man called Rahul who has identified himself to Indian police as Rahul Bhatt, a young actor from one of Bollywood’s leading families.

Apart from his visit to the Taj Mahal hotel in 2007, when he stayed in the heritage building attacked by the terrorists the following year, he also visited New Delhi, staying in the city’s Paharganj area, in October 2007 and March 2009.

He is reported to have rented an apartment close to his gym in Mumbai from April 2008, where his landlady has described him as a “sweet and charming man”.

Headley’s associate, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, a Canadian living in Chicago, stayed in a guesthouse in south Mumbai close to the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, another target, until November 21 last year, five days before the attacks, when he returned to North America.

Headley himself was in Pakistan at the time of the attacks working on another plan he called the “Mickey Mouse Project”. Headley and Rana both attended the Hasan Abdal Cadet College in Pakistan and were members of an internet group called the Abdalians.

Five Pakistani army officers were arrested this week in connection with their activities. One Pakistani officer, referred to in US legal documents as “Individual A,” is said to have acted as Headley’s link to Let and another group called Harakat ul- Jihad Islami, both of which are associated with al-Qaeda.

While investigations continue into Headley’s activities in India he has been charged in Chicago with a number of other terrorist offences.

He is accused of plotting an attack on the culture editor and cartoonist who published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark. – telegraph

More on Headley. (Note: “carrying out a recce” = conducting a reconaissance mission.)

David Coleman Headley personally visited every target site of the 26/11 terror strikes last year, carrying out a recce on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, a police source said today. …

“He (Headley) mapped the Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus, Taj and Trident hotels and Nariman House. We are interrogating (filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s son) Rahul to find out when he went to Leopold Café. That he did is certain — when he did that is what we need to know,” a top officer said.

Headley had visited the Mumbai home of Rahul, who contacted police after learning of the terror suspect’s arrest by America’s Federal Burau of Investigation (FBI) last month.

The source said Headley, a Pakistani-born US national, and his associate Tahawwur Hussain Rana stayed in Hotel Outram, a seedy motel in Mumbai’s Fort area, for about a fortnight in July 2008.

Born Daood Gilani, Headley, who changed his name and passport in 2006, posed as a Jewish American during his Mumbai stay. A source close to Rahul too confirmed that Headley had claimed to be a Jew. …

The FBI seized a book called How to Pray Like a Jew from him at the time of his arrest in Chicago. He had prepared himself thoroughly to pose as a Jew,” the officer said.

I found no pictures of Headley.  How do they know he was “posing” as Jewish?  I find no such book title, but I suspect it was this book: “To Pray As A Jew: A Guide To The Prayer Book And The Synagogue Service“.

Interestingly…

It turns out that US investigators had Headley under surveillance a month before the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. They monitored him for a year before the FBI arrested him at the Chicago airport on October 3 as he planned to leave for Philadelphia en route to Pakistan. – indiaexpress

It seems some Pakistani army officers were working with a senior al-Qaida member on the Mumbai and other terror attacks.

Five Pakistani army officers have been detained for questioning over possible links to two U.S. terror suspects accused of plotting an armed attack on a Danish newspaper, intelligence officials said Tuesday. The detentions underscore long-standing allegations that elements in Pakistan support a militant group known as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is devoted to fighting the country’s arch enemy, India. The group is blamed for last year’s terror attacks in Mumbai and other strikes in India in recent years. Last month’s arrests of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana in Chicago have cast a fresh spotlight on the group. U.S. prosecutors said the two men were believed to be working with an unidentified senior member of the outfit and a senior al-Qaida operative. Two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking anonymously because they are not allowed to release their identity, said phone records showed the five Pakistani officers had contacted Headley and Rana. They say the five include a retired brigadier general and two active lieutenant colonels, but did not provide more details. – yahoo

Is the unnamed retired general Mahmood Ahmed, the once head of Pakistani intelligence, the man who paid the lead 9/11 terrorist $100,000 and was (bizzarely enough) meeting with the heads of the US Senate and House intelligence committee in Washington DC on the morning of the US terror attacks of 9/11/2001? No, no. Ahmed wasn’t a brigadier general. A brigadier is a one star general. Ahmed was higher.  He was a Lt. general (a three star general) as in ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, now retired. According to wikipedia, “He is now a member of Tablighi Jamaat and preaching the teaching of Islam.”

About “the Mumbai bombings”:

The attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) began on November 26, 2008, and over the next three days, at least 173 people were killed, including 5 British nationals, with several hundreds injured. The famous Taj Mahal Palace hotel, scene of much of the carnage, was severely damaged by fire caused by the bombs. – noinvite

Ten heavily armed terrorists that India says came from Pakistan sneaked into Mumbai Nov 26 (2008) via the sea route and attacked various installations in the city, holding it to ransom for over 60 hours before they were neutralised. More than 170 people, including 26 foreigners, lost their lives in the carnage, while over 300 were injured. – indiainfo

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