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Terrorists copied Al Qaeda's blueprint, say experts

November 27, 2008 23:53 IST

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A top terrorist expert on Thursday said that the militants behind the high-profile attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 125 people followed a 'blueprint' created by the Al Qaeda [Images].

"Al Qaeda set the blueprint for terrorist operations and now we see different people, different groups in different parts of the world, copying it," said George Kassimeris, an expert in conflict and terrorism.

He said the "underlying theme is to cause as much havoc as possible and this is exactly what has happened in India".

Kassimeris, a senior research fellow at the University of Wolverhampton, said the Islamic extremist group created the 'modus operandi' of attacking vulnerable civilian targets with no warning, long-term plans or demands.

Witness accounts that gunmen were looking for US and British nationals suggest they want to grab international attention, he added.

"There is no specific operational or logistical plan, they just want to inflict as much damage and injury as possible," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph today.

"The fact they have gone for western targets confirms initial fears that these people are out to inflict as much damage as possible," he told the British daily.

Kassimeris said those responsible were likely to be Islamic religious extremists.

"It could be any one of them and it would be foolish to speculate so soon, but I am 99.9 per cent sure there is a religious element to this," he said.

A top Russian security official also agreed with Kassimeris' views.

"The Russian secret services have information that certain groups that have carried out attacks in Mumbai have contacts with Al Qaeda," said the official, identified as a senior source at one of Russia's [Images] spy agencies.

"In particular, the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. This group's militants undergo special training in Al Qaeda camps, located on the border between Pakistan and India," the official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

Earlier, Russian intelligence and security chief Alexander Bortnikov noted the growing activity of international terror organisations, which are trying to expand their activities beyond the Afghan-Pakistan zone.

"There is need to note growing activities of international terrorist organisations in the Afghan-Pakistan zone and in the countries of North Africa. A stable tendency to expand their activities to the other territories, including that of European states and our country, is clearly visible," Director of FSB security service Bortnikov said on Thursday while chairing the National Anti-Terror Committee.

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