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Rediff.com  » News » West sweats as Kashmiri gears up for deadly strike

West sweats as Kashmiri gears up for deadly strike

December 24, 2010 14:37 IST

Ilyas Kashmiri, who took over as the chief military strategist for the Al Qaeda, has been classified as the most dangerous man alive.

While his existence raises a lot of concern for India, the West has more to worry about since he has been put exclusively in charge of recruiting terror forces to carry out a spate of attacks across the West in the wake of the holiday seasons that are coming up.

Now with the West sounding off a holiday alert, the specific intercepts that they have got is that Kashmiri is planning to launch an attack with at least 100 fidayeen fighters and drag it on for more than a week -- which, if it comes about, would result in one of the biggest hostage crises ever.

Sources in Indian intelligence agencies told rediff.com that their counterparts from the Western countries are in touch with them regarding this man since he has been attempting to recruit youth from both Pakistan and India to carry out these operations.

The intercept goes on to suggest that the he has breathed a lot of life into the Al Qaeda ever since he took over the military operations and his one-point agenda is the destruction of the West and India.

According to intelligence agencies, Kashmiri has been given this important charge since the Al Qaeda felt that it was dropping in terms of strength especially in the Western nations. He will be seen less in the battlefield in Afghanistan and would focus more on building up the network of Al Qaeda both in India and the West.

Intercepts suggest that he has been working on a deadly plan to carry out terror strikes in France, England and Germany during the holiday season.

However, these intercepts could be misleading as Kashmiri is known to strike when the radar on his outfit is relatively low, and he is said to be patience personified.

The West has much more to worry about according to the Intelligence Bureau since his role is more specific to that region. Kashmiri believes that the West is the primary cause which led to the suppression of the Islamic movement, and breaking into their security is his key motive.

As far as India is concerned, Kashmiri has currently being focusing more on Kashmir. The WikiLeaks cable on him suggested that he has been taking a keen interest in the region and the Al Qaeda has been pumping in a lot of money for the Kashmir battle.

Indian agencies say Kashmiri is a master of the trade who is capable of producing results. His original plan to execute the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, which was eventually hijacked by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba at the behest of the Inter Services Intelligence, is a clear indication of what the man is capable of.

India has already requested for his extradition but Pakistan has denied any knowledge about him despite Kashmiri giving interviews from the South Wazirstan region.

India has a lot to gain from his extradition.

If at all he is captured by Pakistan and handed over to the United States, India too would be given an opportunity to question him.

Kashmiri's terror network in India is strong and he is believed to have helped David Headley, the recce man of the 26/11 attacks, a lot. Headley could not have done it alone, and Home Minister P Chidambaram too made it clear to the US that he "feels it in his bones that Headley had support in India".

Indian agencies want to find out if it was Kashmiri who arranged for local support for Headley.

After all, Kashmiri was in constant touch with him during the run-up to the 26/11 attacks, and Headley's statements to the Indian agencies also suggest that the two had planned more attacks on Indian soil.

While these are the woes of the Indian agencies, the West is keenly watching his movements as they believe that Kashmiri will attempt to strike in their part of the world first.

Kashmiri's attack style has always been a military style operation involving a hostage crisis. The intercepts from the West too indicate the same and they have shared information with their Indian counterparts regarding this.

In the words of Kashmiri himself, he would 'like to send in at least 100 fidayeen fighters into the West and carry out a never before like operation which would drag on for at least two weeks."

He had also indicated that in such an operation, he would ensure that they take as many hostages as possible and strike a hard bargain with the West.

Vicky Nanjappa