Mumbai Masterminds Cheered Killings
January 7, 2009
Mumbai dossier reveals chilling celebrations of Pakistani masterminds
Pakistani terrorists cheered as they heard the Mumbai attackers shoot innocent hotel guests live over an open satellite telephone line, new evidence has revealed.
By Dean Nelson
Transcripts of their conversations and a confession statement of the lone surviving gunman reveal how Lashkar e Taiba leaders, a group which was once sponsored by Pakistan's intelligence services, carefully managed the slaughter from afar.
The transcripts are part of an Indian government dossier which claims the plot was planned and remotely controlled from Pakistan by LeT chiefs using live television news coverage and continuous satellite phone conversation with the gunmen.
In one section, the gunmen are told to kill all but two Muslim guests in the Oberoi hotel.
"Everything is being recorded by the media. Inflict the maximum damage, keep fighting, don't be taken alive," says one handler.
"Kill all the hostages except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so we can hear the gunfire," says another.
When one of the gunmen says "we have three foreigners, including women, from Singapore and China," his handler orders "Kill them".
The transcript then records the voices of the two gunmen lining up the hostages, ordering the two Muslims to stand aside, and the sound of gunfire followed by cheering from the handlers.
But within seconds of the killings, the gunmen are quickly ordered to move downstairs to continue their attack.
Throughout the attacks, the Pakistan-based handlers spoke continuously to their volunteers at the Oberoi and Taj hotels and the Jewish welfare centre at Nariman House, driving them on to more killing and relaying media comments to them to raised their spirits.
In one conversation, just before the Chinese women were murdered, the handlers told one gunman:"Brother Abdul, the media is comparing your action to 9/11."
In a conversation with one of the four gunmen stalking the corridors of the Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the handlers orders him to search for several government ministers they believed were staying there and says they should "set the place on fire".
When he is told four rooms had been set ablaze, the handler replies:"People shall run helter skelter when they see the flames. Keep throwing a grenade every 15 minutes or so. It will terrorise."
In a conversation with their gunmen at the Nariman house Jewish centre, Chabad Lubavitch, the handlers said they wanted to seriously damage India's relations with Israel by killing Israelis being held hostage.
"Keep in mind the hostages are of use only as long as you do not come under fire because of their safety. If you are still threatened do not saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages – immediately kill them.
"Israel has made a request through diplomatic channels to save the hostages. If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel," one said.
Later, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivkah were murdered along with other hostages.
According to the confession of Mohammad Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman, he was first told of the target in September, two months before the attack, but his training had begun shortly after he joined the LeT in 2007 in Muridke, Pakistan.
He told interrogators he was selected for a military training programme run by LeT leader Abdul Rahman which included weapons training for AK47 machine guns and UZI submachine guns.
Two months later he was selected for an advanced combat course in Pakistan-administered Kashmir where he learned to handle explosives and grenades and fire rockets and mortars.
Of 32 volunteers, 16 were hand-picked by Zaqi ur Rehmnan, the LeT's military commander, for a confidential mission, which required new specialist training in seamanship. "During the training we were given lectures on India, and its security agencies. We were also given training on how to evade the chase by security personnel. We were strictly instructed not to make calls to Pakistan after reaching India," Kasab told his interrogators.
It was in fact their own calls to the gunmen from Pakistan which were traced and recorded and now form the spine of India's charge that the attacks were planned and directed from Pakistan, and that such an audacious attack could not have been carried out without support from state agencies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/4162456/Mumbai-dossier-reveals-chilling-celebrations-of-Pakistani-masterminds.html