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Abu, a common Lashkar codename for terrorists

The method in the madness of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who target India has a name - Abu.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2012 02:58 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times

The method in the madness of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who target India has a name - Abu.

Intelligence agencies have identified that the Pakistan-based LeT makes Abu a part of the pseudonyms of operatives it chooses for terror operations in India as a mark of respect.

Abu means father in most Semitic languages including Arabic. The latest instance of the LeT's coding pattern has come to light with the arrest of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who is believed to be one of the handlers of the 10 terrorists who carried out the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai.

Incidentally, eight of the 10 terrorists who targeted Mumbai on November 26, 2008, also had the Abu pseudonym (see box).

The sole surviving terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, was also known as Abu Mujahid, said an intelligence agency source, adding that two of the attackers not named Abu were possibly chosen at the last minute.

What's more, 19 among 35 others wanted in connection with the 26/11 attacks also have Abu pseudonyms.

"LeT follows this practice of changing names of the terrorists they send to India," said a former intelligence bureau official who did not want to be named. "Their handlers too get the title Abu.

For instance, top LeT operative Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is known as Abu Wallid.

Another LeT trick is to name its leaders in India Abu Hamza. "This is why this name always crops up. If one Abu Hamza is caught, killed or replaced, another Abu Hamza takes over."

Abu Hamza is among those wanted for the 26/11 carnage.

First Published: Jun 26, 2012 23:23 IST