Al-Qaeda wanted to target India after 26/11 strikes: David Headley

Mumbai: In more chilling testimony, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley today said al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi's National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai
al qaeda wanted to target india after 26/11...
PTI February 12, 2016 17:33 IST

Mumbai: In more chilling testimony, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley today said al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi's National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai airport, BARC and the Naval air station here.

Headley also told Special Judge G A Sanap via video-link from the US that he attempted to develop close relations with a Shiv Sena member as he thought Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT), a Pakistan-based terror outfit, would be interested in future to either attack the Shiv Sena Bhawan here or assassinate its head (late Bal Thackeray).

Continuing his deposition for the fourth day, Headley claimed he discouraged the LeT about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets for the attack as they were
heavily guarded.

Headley told the court here that his handlers in Pakistan spy agency ISI and LeT wanted to target Mumbai airport and Naval air station during the terror attack in November 2008.

"Major Iqbal expressed disapproval of certain areas I had recced as targets. I felt that Major Iqbal was unhappy because Mumbai airport was not selected and included as one of the targets for the 26/11 attack," he said.

Headley testified in detail on how al-Qaeda was also interested in carrying out attacks in India after 26/11 strike.

"After the 26/11 terror attack I met Ilyas Kashmiri (of al-Qaeda) in February 2009 and he asked me to visit India again as they were also interested in carrying out terrorist activities in India. He mentioned few places like the NDC (National Defence College) which was their primary target," he said.

He also said NDC was a high-value target as it housed senior military officers, from Brigadier to General rank.

"Abdul Rehman Pasha (Al-Qaeda member) said that if this attack is successful then we would be able to kill more Brigadiers and Generals than any killed in the wars between India and Pakistan in the past," said the 55-year-old, who recently turned approver in the 26/11 terror attacks case.

He told the court that as per Kashmiri's orders, he also visited the Chabad houses located in Pushkar, Goa and Pune as they were secondary targets of the terror outfit.

He said he had videographed BARC at Trombay in Mumbai in July 2008 and that LeT had asked him to recruit some employee of BARC who would work for ISI.

"I also visited and videographed BARC. Major Iqbal told me that in some future date I should recruit some employee of BARC who would give us classified information and would be ready to work for the ISI," he said, adding that he had handed over the video to Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal.

Headley also testified on his interaction with a Shiv Sena member.

Also Read: Befriended Shiv Sena workers thinking LeT would want to eliminate Bal Thackeray: David Headley

"I met Rajaram Rege (PRO of Uddhav Thackeray) inside Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar.

I was interested in accessing the building at that time and I attempted to develop closer relations with Rege as I thought the LeT would be interested in future to attack the Sena Bhavan or assassinate its head,"

Headley told the court.

Rege said he had met the Pakistani-American terrorist outside the Sena Bhawan just for two minutes and flatly declined his request to gain access into the building.

"Headley had met me outside the Sena Bhavan with one Vilas Warke. He wanted me to show him the Sena Bhavan from inside but I had flatly declined his request. My meeting with him had only lasted two minutes," Rajaram Rege said.

Headley also identified the recently executed lone 26/11 convict, Ajmal Kasab, when he was shown a photograph of him.

"This is Ajmal Kasab Rehmatullah Aliah," Headley told the court.

When he was again asked to spell out the full name of Kasab, he said, "His name is only Ajmal Kasab but Rehmatullah Aliah means god bless him or god forgive him," and added that after Kasab was captured, Sajid Mir and everybody in LeT were saddened.

In further disclosures, he said that after he had conducted a reconnaissance of Mumbai, he had several meetings in Pakistan with LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Sajid Mir, Abu Kahfa and Abdul Rehman Pasha and Major Iqbal.

Headley revealed that during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, prior to the 26/11 attacks, he had surveyed and videographed the Chabad House in south Mumbai.

"I don't know who was staying there. Sajid Mir and Pasha asked me to survey this place and said that it was an international location as it had Jewish and Israeli people,"
he said.

Headley said he discouraged the LeT about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets for the attack. "I discouraged them (LeT) about Naval air station and
Siddhivinayak temple as targets as then all the ten attackers would have had to concentrate on one target only," he said.

Continuing to spill beans on the brazen terror attack, he said "for the 26/11 terror attack, LeT handler Sajid Mir and Abu Kahfa, on instructions from Zaki Sahab, decided to go with the stronghold option which means stay put in the place of the target and keep on fighting."

"The second option that was discussed was egress option which means leave the place of target and go to India occupied Kashmir and continue fighting with the troops there," he said.

"Kahfa told me that the egress option was discarded as if it was in the mind of the person (attacker) that he has to leave then he will not fight well," Headley further said.

 
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