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Lashkar-e-Taiba's Saudi connection

Intelligence reports say Saudi Arabia is an important stopover for LeT men on their way to Pak, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2006 02:24 IST
Arun Joshi

Saudi Arabia is an important stopover for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) men on their way to Pakistan for training.

The terrorists -- mostly from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad -- travel on valid visas to Saudi Arabia from where LeT contacts arrange their passage to Pakistan, say intelligence reports on the group and its operation.

The outfit, which has spread its wings to Bosnia, Chechnya, Algeria and Egypt, is under increased surveillance after the 11/7 Mumbai serial blasts  and the Kashmir strikes.

Intelligence sources said since Saudi Arabia is home to two of the holiest Muslims pilgrimage spots -- Mecca and Medina -- travellers from India are usually considered above board.

The terror modules are shipped to Pakistan from Jeddah and other port cities, sources said. In Pakistan, the LeT operatives from the sub-continent -- India, Bangladesh and Nepal -- and Saudi Arabia train at the LeT’s “foreigners’ camp” in Cholestan at Bhawalpur near Bhootan Wala Taba.

This camp is manned by Abu Usman -- a Punjabi-speaking group commander. Professor Azeem Cheema alias “Baba of Faislabad” also call the shots, along with Usman.

Besides indoctrination of terrorists into Jihadi philosophy, which in case of Indian terrorists is to strive for secession of Kashmir from India and cause largescale disruption by acts of terror, they are given military training at Maskar Abdullah Bin Masood, Serikote, Markaz-e-Toiba, Chela Bandi, Maskar Umar Quarra, Chela Bandi near Nisar Army Camp and Maskar-e-Aksa (in Muzzfarabad).

Other camps are located near Bhawalpur Textile Mills, Maskar-e-Abu Baseer (code Dera Cholestan), Bhawalpur, Foreigners Complex, Cholestan, and Maskar Shekh Imam Ibne Taiemia and Badali Kotli in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

The basic training is followed by an eight-month advance course at Maskar-e-Abu Baseer (code Dera Cholestan), Bhawalpur, where the rookies learn to make explosive devices, hurl grenades, “select target” firing, code messaging on palm tops, infiltration, driving, cooking and even the art of disguise -- to resemble Indians.

They are also taught elementary Hindi, religion -- Hinduism amd Sikhisim -- and how to motivate “jihadis”. The fence-cutting technique is an integral part of the module. Most of the “trained” Indians -- who return via Saudi Arabia -- get in touch with the operatives in Jammu and Kashmir, when required. They work in tandem with outfits like Jaish-E-Mohammad and Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen.