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FBI foils LeT plan of major terror attack in India

October 27, 2009 23:24 IST

Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba was planning to use an American national to carry out a major terrorist attack in India, US investigating authorities said on Tuesday. The man, identified as David Coleman Headley, was arrested in early October by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force at O'Hare International Airport before boarding a flight to Philadelphia, intending to travel on to Pakistan.

Forty-nine-year-old Headley, along with a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, have been arrested on charges of plotting a terror attack against the facilities and employees of a Danish newspaper, which had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, federal law enforcement officials announced on Tuesday.

The Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, also known as Tahawar Rana, was also a resident of Chicago and was arrested by the FBI on October 18.

Rana is the owner of several businesses, including First World Immigration Services, which has offices on Devon Avenue in Chicago, as well as in New York and Toronto. According to the FBI affidavit filed in a Chicago court, Headley was in close contact with Ilyas Kashmiri and several unidentified leaders of the LeT.

Kashmiri is the operational chief of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir section of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation with links to the Al Qaeda.

Kashmiri, who is presently believed to be in Pakistan's restive Waziristan tribal region, issued a statement this month that he was alive and working with the Al Qaeda.

The identities of other LeT leaders, who are associated with Kashmiri, have not been revealed and are mentioned as "LeT member A" and "LeT member B" in the affidavit. "In July and August 2009, Headley exchanged a series of e-mails with LeT Member A, including an exchange in which Headley asked if the Denmark project was on hold, and whether a visit to India that LeT Member A had asked him to undertake was for the purpose of surveying targets for a new terrorist attack," the FBI said in its affidavit. "These e-mails reflect that LeT Member A was placing a higher priority on using Headley to assist in planning a new attack in India than on completing the planned attack in Denmark," it said.

After this time, Headley and LeT Member A allegedly continued focusing on the plan with Kashmiri to attack the newspaper, rather than working with LeT, the complaint alleges.

In January 2009, Headley travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Rana had allegedly arranged parts of his travel. In late July 2009, Headley travelled again to Copenhagen and to other locations in Europe, and Rana again arranged portions of his travel.
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