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Lashkar planning another 26/11 type strike on Mumbai: IB

July 15, 2009 19:15 IST

Mumbai is back on the radar with the Intelligence Bureau handing out a fresh warning that several parts of the city could be targetted by Pakistan-based terror outfits. The warning was issued based on the interrogation of a militant who was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir.

IB sources said that while the alert has been sounded off to security agencies, they are also not ruling out the possibility that this could be a tactic by terror groups to distract security forces in other areas. Sources say that terror groups always plan big, when it comes to striking at important destinations in India and they would not carry out a 'hurried' or 'half-baked' operation.

The Lashkar-e-Tayiba was expected to plan some operation with a view to disrupt the Indo-Pak talks scheduled in Egypt. The outfit has done so several times in the past since the very meaning of the outfit's existence will vanish if both the countries enjoy cordial relations.

IB sources say that the possible targets for the LeT are Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Jammu and Kashmir, which are focal points for the outfit and any attack on these places would help escalate the tension between India and Pakistan.

Despite international pressure and a crackdown by Pakistan, LeT operatives in India have been directed by their bosses to continue with operations. While recuruitments have come down considerably due to security being beefed up along the borders, logistical activity continues in almost every major city in the country. Updates about key installations are being sent across to the bosses at all times.

The LeT plans to carry out a strike similar to the November 26 terror attacks, in Mumbai again. Photographs which have been recovered from the Kashmiri militant suggest that they plan on targeting railway stations and banks in Mumbai. The focus again is the southern part of the city since strikes there would create more impact.

The IB says that the ongoing monsoon is something that the Lashkar may take advantage of. They are likely to use to coast once again since it is difficult to monitor the coast during the rain. However there is likely to be a change in plan since the Lashkar will be doubly careful before launching an attack out of Pakistan. The finances this time around will be from the Gulf and they may use Nepal or Maldives to launch the attack. The stategy is well planned since immediately after the attack Indian agencies would blame Pakistan, which would strain relations, but a further probe indicates that the attack was launched not from Pakistan again serves the purpose since the heat will not be on the country at a later stage.

Meanwhile an alert has been sounded and security agencies in Maharashtra and other parts of the country have beefed security. The coastal areas in Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka are witnessing heightened security in the wake of the IB alert.

Vicky Nanjappa