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26/11 attacks handler took orders from ISI

india Updated: Jan 20, 2010 00:36 IST
Abhishek Sharan
Abhishek Sharan
Hindustan Times
26/11 attacks

Sheikh Abdul Khwaja, the chief of Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami’s (HuJI) India operations arrested on Monday by Hyderabad police, has allegedly revealed that he was taking orders from Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Khwaja, allegedly involved in four major terrorist attacks across India in the past four years, including the May 2007 blast in Hyderabad’s Mecca mosque, has identified a senior ISI officer as his handler, said a senior security official on condition of anonymity. “The ISI official, Khuda Baksh, is the man who was instructing/co-coordinating the activities of Khwaja and also of other operatives of the HuJI group led by him,” he said.

Khuda Baksh, according to Khwaja, had instructed him to make “Colombo an alternate operational hub, instead of Dhaka, since the current Bangladesh government was strict against organisations involved in anti-India activities”, said the security official.

Khwaja told the interrogators about his meetings in Dhaka and Karachi with Amir Reza Khan, the chief of Indian Mujahideen (IM) involved in several serial blasts across the country — Jaipur (May 2008), Bangalore (July 2008), Ahmedabad (July 2008) and Delhi (September 2008). “Khwaja will be interrogated to find his and his group's involvement in providing logistical support to the IM,” said the security official.

Khwaja also revealed that since 2005 he had been “closely” working with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.