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Masterminding 26/11 attacks from the control room

india Updated: Dec 19, 2014 02:45 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Nariman House


“Tell the media this was our trailer, (the) original movie is yet to be played. Government (of India) should know that it was trailer…” These chilling words were said by a handler in the Karachi control room to the suicide bomber holed inside Nariman House during the attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, which left 166 people dead.

Nariman House, a Jewish residential complex run by the Chabad-Lubavitch ultra-orthodox movement, was scene to some horrific killing, which lead to the death of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife along with several other hostages.

The control room was allegedly managed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. This came up during the interrogation of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal after his deportation from Saudi Arabia in June 2012. Jundal was assigned the task of teaching spoken Hindi to all 10 Mumbai attackers.

According to a counter-terror official, Jundal also told interrogators that it was Lakhvi who set-up the control room and supervised their training.

“There were three or four voices in the Karachi control room directing the 10 attackers but we still don’t know whether Lakhvi is also one of the handlers directly guiding them. This is because when we sought voice samples of all the accused, including Lakhvi, they all refused,” said a counter terror official.

The official added that Pakistan under tremendous pressure from the international community put Lakhvi in jail but Jundal told interrogators that he still managed to live in a fairly free manner.

According to the chargesheet filed in the case, throughout the operation, the terrorists were in touch with their handlers who provided them motivational and instructional output.