US terror suspect David Headley had conducted a detailed survey of Nariman House before the Mumbai carnage and even entered the targeted Jewish Centre posing as a Jew, official sources said on Thursday. The new detail of Headley's movement in this western metropolis prior to the 26/11 attack came on the back of evidence that the US national had also visited and stayed at Taj and Oberoi here--the two luxury hotels which was attacked.
Official sources said statements of some of the witnesses who had either seen or accompanied the 48-year-old Headley to Nariman House, also known as Chabbad House, have been recorded. A Rabbi and his wife were among the six killed there.
The attack by Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists last year in the five-storeyed house, which can be approached only through narrow lanes and by-lanes of Colaba, had left the security agencies without any doubt that a proper recee had been conducted before the srike.
Now after Headley's arrest, things appear to be falling in place with the central security agencies tracing people who had taken him to Nariman House on their motorcycles, the sources said. Headley is currently in Federal Bureau of Investigation custody in the US for allegedly plotting attacks in India. One of the witnesses, whose statement has been recorded, told the investigators that Headley went inside the house and posed as a Jew and interacted with the inmates for a long time, the sources said.
The American investigators, after arresting Headley at the Chicago airport last month, had recovered a book--How to
pray like Jews --from him. Another witness in his statement recalls that Headley had taken a round with him around the area to ascertain the entry and exit points of the Nariman House, sources said.
Six of the occupants including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and five-month pregnant wife Rivka were killed by Lashkar militants. The two-year-old son of Rabbi--Moshe--was saved by her nanny Sandra Samuel. Headley had stayed at the Oberoi for four days in April last year despite staying as a paying guest in Mumbai. He had later left India reportedly for Pakistan through a Gulf country. Thirty people were killed in the terror strikes at Oberoi and Trident hotel. Headley had stayed in the Taj Mahal hotel which witnessed the longest battle between the LeT terrorists and security personnel.
With fresh evidence of Headley's suspected link with 26/11 emerging, security agencies appeared to be convinced
each passing day about his role when the conspiracy to carry out the terror attack was hatched. 166 people were killed in
the Mumbai attack.