The man behind the 313 Brigade that has threatened a terror attack during this festive season is a key Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s key operative, the police have said.
Illyas Kashmiri, police sources said, was 26/11 accused David Coleman Headley’s handler.
Headley, who was arrested in the US, had allegedly conducted a recce of Mumbai eight times in the three years preceding the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, to identify targets.
Intelligence agencies had alerted the Mumbai police about the threat to Ganesh pandals in the city, a month ago. The police said they are taking the terror alert very seriously considering Kashmiri was among those who allegedly planned the ‘Karachi Project’ to carry out terror strikes across India.
The police have also issued an alert for Kalimuddin Khan alias Rameshwar Pandit and Hafiz Sharif, who intelligence sources said, are part of the 313 Brigade and have been trained by Kashmiri.
Kashmiri had threatened devastating attacks soon after the November 26, 2008, terror strike, sources in the intelligence agencies said. “His threats cannot be ignored considering one of the most significant operations Illyas has conducted was at Aknoor cantonment in Jammu & Kashmir against the Indian Army following the Gujarat riots in 2002,” a senior police officer said requesting anonymity. “Two groups of the 313 Brigade had entered the cantonment had lured senior army personnel into the fight. A Lieutenant General and Major General were injured in the attack.”
Police sources said Kashmiri created the 313 brigade and has close links with the LeT. The FBI has charged Kashmiri for using Headley for planning the attack on a Danish newspaper that carried a derogatory cartoon of Prophet Mohammad, sources said.
Kashmiri is also reported to be closely affiliated to LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and alleged 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Both are in Pakistan.