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Mumbai escaped twice before 26/11 attacks
CHICAGO, May 27 (Agencies):
Published on 27 May. 2011 11:30 PM IST
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The Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had initially scheduled the Mumbai terror attacks to begin on September 29, but it abandoned this plan after the attackers got stuck on a rock and the boat in which they were travelling was destroyed, according to unsealed court documents released in the US.
According to the documents, Sajid Mir, one of David Coleman Headley’s LeT handlers, told him that the attack would occur on the 27th night of Ramadan, which in 2008 would have been on September 29. Around this time, Headley received a text message from Sajid stating something to the effect of “the game is afoot”.
After Ramadan, however, Sajid came to Headley’s home in Pakistan and explained that the boat carrying the attackers had got stuck on a rock and was destroyed, the court documents said.
“Sajid told Headley that everyone on board survived, in part because they had life vests. Headley subsequently met with Pasha (Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired Pakistani military officer) and told him about the failed attempt. Pasha said that the failed attempt was a sign that God was not happy with Lashkar,” the papers said.
Sajid told Headley that there would be a second attempt to attack Mumbai in October 2008. Soon thereafter, Sajid told Headley that the second attempt had also failed. Sajid explained that the Lashkar had rented a boat for the attempt. After two or three days, the attackers spotted an Indian fishing vessel and attempted to open fire on it, but the vessel escaped.
“Sajid said that the ‘boys’ (the attackers) were demoralized and sent back to a safe house in Karachi. In or around mid-November, Sajid related to Headley that the team of attackers were in Karachi, Pakistan, readying for a third attempt at the attack on Mumbai,” the court papers said.
It was on November 26, 2008, that Headley received a text message from Sajid with words to the effect of “turn on your tv”. Headley then learned that the attacks had begun. After receiving the text from Sajid, Headley also told Pasha, his ISI handler Major Iqbal and Saulat Rana the news about the attacks.
Starting on November 26, 2008, the 10 attackers carried out multiple assaults -- with firearms, grenades and Improvised Explosive Devices -- against multiple targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal hotel, the Oberoi and Trident, Leopold Cafe, Chabad House and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Headley had performed surveillance at each of these locations. The attackers came ashore at Machhimar Nagar, Cuffe Parade, the same location that Headley had recommended. Some took taxis to their destinations, placing bombs in the vehicles which later exploded.

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