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Tracking local modules' role in terror strikes

By Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru
December 30, 2008 15:18 IST
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Terror operations can never succeed without the support of a local module. According to Intelligence Bureau officials, there is a need to dig deeper into the role played by such modules.

IB officials told that there is a particular manner in which the Inter Service Intelligence activates its local modules while it facilitates an attack on foreign soil. IB sources say that when it comes to setting up modules in India, the recruitment is personally supervised by the ISI.

Of late, the ISI has outsourced a part of this work to the DGFI, the intelligence service of Bangladesh. Once the men in the local Indian network are identified, modules in Pakistan and Bangladesh coordinate with their counterparts in India every time an attack is planned.

The job of the modules is to establish cells which can actually do the ground work for a terror strike. Each module would have at least five cells working under it. These cells are established at various locations in the country but they all report to the same module.

The role of the cell members is well-defined. Apart from spreading the jihadi ideology to youngsters, cell members also help in recruiting men for terror-related operations. The cell members are also entrusted with the job of arranging a safe house for foreign visitors.

In the Mumbai attacks, local cells played

an extremely vital role, says the IB. They were the ones who helped Fahim Ansari of the LeT in locating the targets for the attacks. Besides this, the cells also helped in undertaking surveillance activities so that maps and videos could be prepared to facilitate the deadly attacks.

While the cells go about their work, the module to which they report is always kept in the loop about every little detail. The module chief, who is also the chief of operation, stays in touch with the cell members.

The IB adds that it is not necessary that a module chief for India be stationed in the country. There is a suspicion that the module chief for the Mumbai attack could have been Rahil Sheikh against whom an Interpol alert has been sounded.

The IB suspects that this man could have donned the role of a module chief and from Birmingham he could have controlled operations through the cells and the hubs.

IB sources say the module chief does not interact directly with cell members. He creates another wing called as hub, which acts as the mediator between the cells and the modules. The number of cells and hubs would vary from operation to operation.

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