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De-coding Lashkar's terror operations

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | February 03, 2009 15:54 IST

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Code language is crucial for a terrorist operation's success.

Investigations have revealed that 26/11 killers communicated with each other using coded language.

During his interrogation, Sabahuddin Ahmed -- the prime accused in the December 28, 2005 attack on the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru [Images], and the January 1, 2008 attack on the Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh [Images] -- spoke about a code specifically used for satellite phones. The code was 1212. has learnt that each terrorist, who was part of the 26/11 attack, was given a Thuraya satellite phone. Sabahuddin says none of the operatives was supposed to mention the number assigned to them during conversations.

Even when a diary entry was to be made, they never stored the real satellite phones numbers handed over to them. The only way to decode the numbers was with the help of the code number 1212.

For instance, if the number is stored as 93418862140 then to get the real number one would have to add 1212 to the number mentioned. In this case, the real number would be 9341863352.

Sabahuddin says the coding was formulated during a meeting with Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhwi -- the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] mastermind of the 26/11 attacks -- and Muzzamil, another Lashkar operative, at the Baith-ul-Mujahideen terror camp.

Lashkar has been emphasising on coding its operations as it delays investigations. Other Lashkar codes include Rakam or project files for weapons, Hamzas or motorbikes for fidayeen (suicide bombers) and Rakam Karch Karne ki jagah or visa for action.

The Lashkar is also very particular about avoiding mention of the word Pakistan or Kashmir. While Pakistan is referred to as Aamir ki Jagah, Kashmir is code-named Nanihal. Nepal and Bangladesh are referred to as Ravi and Rabra respectively.

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