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Lashkar is the prime suspect

india Updated: Nov 28, 2008 03:57 IST

The terror attacks in Mumbai bear all the hallmarks of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. They were similar to the attack on the Akshardham temple on September 24, 2002, the one in Ayodhya on July 5, 2005, and the one at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh headquarters in Nagpur on June 2, 2006 — all handiwork of the Lashkar, inspired by the Al-Qaeda.

All the attacks were carried out by highly motivated, trained men in the 20- to 25-year age group. The attackers in all the cases were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and grenades.

<b1>Security personnel said the militants were eating little, consuming mainly almonds, dates and chocolates — as in the previous attacks. They also appeared to have scouted out their targets earlier.

These are all typical of the Lashkar, which carried out the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu to Kandahar.

In Delhi, leaders of India’s security establishment too insisted the terrorists in Mumbai were Lashkar members operating out of Pakistan.

There were intelligence inputs that about a dozen terrorists travelled by sea to Gujarat two days ago and used a fishing vessel to get close to Mumbai. “They then took a motor boat to reach Colaba,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

Special Secretary (Home Ministry) ML Kumawat said the terrorists passed through the fishing colony near Badhwar Park before going to South Mumbai.

"This is not a splinter group like the Indian Mujahideen or one which calls itself Deccan Mujahideen. Given how they targeted Britons and Americans, it seems to be a Qaeda-inspired affair,” an intelligence official said.

Navy officers too said this. "A mother ship or a dhow appears to have ferried them to a point from where they boarded… inflatable boats that can carry about 10 people and run on petrol,” a naval officer said. “We suspect that the mother ship, travelling at 20 nautical miles per hour, could have crossed 400 nautical miles (740 km) by now.”

The Lashkar, meanwhile, denied involvement in the attacks. Abdullah Gaznavi, a spokesperson, said the Lashkar does not operate outside Kashmir.