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ISI trained Headley to pick landing site for 26/11

By Lalit K Jha
July 05, 2011 16:08 IST
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On the instructions of Inter-Services Intelligence, David Headley masqueraded as a tourist interested in angling, taking fishing boats into the waters off Mumbai to identify a suitable landing site for Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists, who months later created mayhem in India's financial capital.

Headley, who played a key role in planning the Mumbai terrorist attack by carrying out surveillance of the targets, told a Chicago court during the recently-concluded trial of co-accused Tahawwur Rana that he did this at the direction of the ISI of Pakistan.

"Yes," Headley said when asked by the defense attorney whether he was trained by the ISI to carry out surveillance of the landing site where the LeT men were to ultimately land through sea in November 2008.

"Mainly Major Iqbal was training you on how to pick a good landing site?" the defense attorney asked. "Yes. And also with Sajid (Mir), but mainly with Major Iqbal," the Pakistani-American LeT operative said.

"Major Iqbal knew what a good landing site would have in it, correct?" the attorney asked. "Yes," he responded.

In fact, Headley used fishing boats to figure out the navigational hazards and find out how easy it would be to come in and out of the harbour and also carried Global Positioning System to put on the waypoints.

"So when you came in, you were looking around, set up video camera, coming down to see a fishing village or something like that, correct?" the attorney asked. "Correct," said the 50-year-old 26/11 accused.

"And careful part on it -- you became a tourist who had an interest in fishing?" he was asked, to which he said 'yes'.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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