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LeT's Gulf operatives financed 26/11: IB

By Vicky Nanjappa
May 28, 2009 17:37 IST
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The Gulf link to terror in India seems to be getting stronger. While the Bangalore police have managed to get details of four persons from the Gulf who were financing and facilitating terror operations, they have now uncovered a Gulf link to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks too.

While the Bangalore police are probing the role of Nawaz in the serial blasts, the Mumbai police are trying to ascertain the role of a man named Ali Abdul Azeez. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau told that this man, who is a financer based in Muscat, could provide vital leads regarding the funding of the 26/11 attack.

Investigations suggest that Azeez had visited Mumbai in November, nine days before the 26/11 attack. He is also linked to Fahim Ansari, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative, being tried in the 26/11 attack.

Azeez is presently in the custody of the Oman police and information shared with the Indian police suggest that this man could have had direct links with many persons involved in the Mumbai attacks.

IB and investigating officials say that both Azeez and Nawaz played vital roles in financing of terror activities in India. The Bangalore police, who are investigating Nawaz, say they would be able to crack the LeT's finance network in Muscat soon.

Nawaz was brought down to Bangalore in dramatic fashion. In total secrecy, officials of the Research and Analysis Wing brought Nawaz from Muscat to Bangalore in an operation that took even the Air Traffic Control by surprise. The scale of the operation indicates this man was a very important link.

Sources say these two men would be crucial to unravel the funding of 26/11 and other terror attacks in India. The Lashkar had moved its financial base into Gulf countries a few years back as it felt that it was easier for them to raise funds there. Moreover, the outfit also found several sympathisers in the Gulf. The Lashkar had also handpicked hawala operators from India and posted them in the Gulf so that they could transfer money for the attacks easily.

IB officials say that they do not rule out the possibility of the financers of both the Mumbai attack and other serial blasts cases working hand in hand. All these persons belong to the Lashkar and have operated out of the same module, they say.

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Vicky Nanjappa