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December 16, 2001
2011 IST

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Attackers comprised four Pakistanis: Delhi police

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

Delhi Police Commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma on Sunday said that though the leader of the five terrorists who carried out the December 13 attack on Parliament was a Kashmiri, the rest were Pakistanis.

The five terrorists who carried out the attack were led by a Pakistani national - Mohammad, he said.

The other members of the team were Raja, Haider, Rana and Hamza, he said.

Mohammad was the one who blew himself up," Sharma said.

Addressing newspersons at a well attended press conference in Delhi, Sharma said that the planning for the attack has been going on for the past several months.

The main brains behind the conspiracy were Mohammed Afzal and Shaukat, residents of Sopore in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

It was a joint operation carried out by Pakistan-based militant outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba, he said.

The Jaish is headed by Maulana Masood Azhar who among three terrorists released in exchange for the passengers of the Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.

"Mohammad Afzal had joined militancy in 1990 and had undergone two-and-a-half-month intensive training programme in a terrorist camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir."

"This camp was being supervised by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). He came back to India the same year. However, he shifted to Delhi owing to police pressure and started living with his cousin Shaukat Guru in Mukherjee Nagar," he said.

"In February 2001, he was contacted by one Tariq, a close associate of Ghazi baba alias doctor who has his base in the Adu hills in Pahalgam. Ghazi baba is the top commander of the Jaish in Kashmir."

"Tariq told him that under pressure from the ISI, Masood Azhar and Lashkar chief Zaki-ur-Rehman had joined hands to launch a suicide attack in Delhi with the LeT providing all necessary support," Sharma said.

The commissioner confirmed that the terrorists had made several rounds of the Parliament House complex and observed the security arrangements.

"Earlier, we thought the terrorists had entered from gate number one from the Vijay Chowk side. However, after viewing the camera recordings, it became clear that the terrorists entered the complex from gate number two on the Parliament Street side," he said.

The five suicide attackers left the Mukherjee Nagar house of Shaukat for Parliament on the morning of December 13 in a white ambassador car, which they had bought on December 11 from Lucky Motors, Sharma said.

Their main aim was to do something sensational, he said.

"Initially, they were planning to go to the airport but then headed towards Parliament House."

"Mohammad rang up Shaukat and Afzal and asked them to watch the proceedings of the House on television and inform them as to which VIPs were present in the House. But when the two did not call back, Mohammad decided to go ahead and launch an attack on the Parliament complex," Sharma said.

"Let me emphasis that there was no security lapse. They were all killed within half an hour of the attack," Sharma said.

Sharma denied reports appearing in national dailies that a woman associate was inside Parliament at the time of the attack. "We are not looking for any more associates," he said.

He complimented the Jammu and Kashmir police for their swift action in apprehending Shaukat Guru and Mohammad Afzal from Sabzi Mandi in Srinagar.

Shaukat had arranged safe hideouts for the terrorists in Christian Colony and Gandhi Vihar areas of Mukherjee Nagar in north Delhi.

About the earlier accusation against the Lashkar, Sharma said, "Initial reports had pointed towards the involvement of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba."

"Later investigations revealed that it was essentially the Jaish, which carried out the attack," he added.

It was Professor Abdul Rehman Geelani who spilled the beans on Afzal and Shaukat, Sharma said.

"Geelani told us that after the attack, Shaukat and Afzal left for Srinagar by road. Interrogation of Shaukat's wife Afsan Guru alias Navjot Sandhu revealed that she knew about the attack as several meetings had taken place at her residence."

"She also told us where Shaukat would be at a particular time. This helped us to arrest Shaukat and Afzal. All four - Shaukat, Afzal, Shaukat's wife and Geelani - arrested persons have been produced before the court and remanded to police custody for a week," Sharma said.

Sharma said a large amount of arms and ammunition was recovered from the three houses, which the terrorists were using.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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