One year after the Mumbai attack, the tentacles of terror are spreading

Thursday, Nov. 26, marks the first anniversary of the Islamic terrorist siege of the Indian city of Mumbai, in which 170 people were shot and blown up and more than 300 wounded. Ten killers of the Pakistan-based al Qaeda offshoot, Lashkar-re-Taibe, shot up and invaded two hotels, a train station, a cafe and the city’s Chabad hospitality center, holding them for three days against Indian police commandos.
The terrorists were instructed to make sure that no one was left alive at the Chabad center: One by one, they murdered the center’s director, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his pregnant wife Rivka, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, Bentzion Chroman, Yocheved Orpaz and Norma Shwartzblatt Rabinovitch. The Holzbergs’ two-year old son Moshe was the only survivor thanks to the staff member, Sandra Samuel, who ran out of the inferno carrying the child.
The Chabad Brooklyn Center has completed a Torah scroll dedicated to the six victims. It will be placed in the rebuilt Mumbai center.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report that, while the attack was prepared operationally by Lashkar-e-Taiba branches in Pakistan, the planning, reconnaissance and selection of targets were orchestrated from a covert L-e-T cell in Chicago, USA, which the FBI broke up this month. They found its members of Pakistani origin had been functioning for three or four years at least to orchestrate terrorist attacks on behalf of al Qaeda’s worldwide networks, the most spectacular of which was the Mumbai operation. But more were in the pipeline in India and Europe.
Federal agents are holding two key suspects David Headley (49), who was arrested on Oct. 10 at O’Hare International Airport before boarding a flight to Philadelphia, en route to Pakistan, and his aide Tahawar Hussain Rana (48), who was arrested on Oct. 18, 2009, at his home in Chicago. The many-tentacled network continued to unravel last week, when the Italian authorities in the northern town of Breschia detained two suspects of providing financial and logistic support to the L-e-T operation.
In his travels for scouting locations for targeting, Headley spent several nights at the targeted Mumbai hotels and the Chabad center, where he masqueraded as a religious Jew. At those sites, Headley marked out the rooms to be seized by the terrorists as assault positions and arranged for munitions to await them there.
This week, most ironically, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was visiting Washington and preparing to sign a pact for Washington and New Delhi to exchange intelligence and cooperate in the war on terror. While he has a long reckoning with Pakistan for harboring anti-Indian Muslim terrorists, the Indian prime minister had since learned that investigation of the Mumbai had led to a home-grown American cell.
Wednesday, Nov. 25, in Washington, the visiting prime minister paid homage to the Mumbai victims and vowed India would not rest until the perpetrators were brought to justice. In the past 24 hours, Pakistan has finally charged seven suspects formally with the attack, but Singh said a lot more needs to be done by Islamabad to fight terror. Indian sources suspect Pakistan timed the belated charges to win good media coverage for the Mumbai outrage’s first anniversary.

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