Abu Jundal: Lashkar planning aerial attacks on Indian cities, has trained paragliders

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Mumbai:  Abu Jundal, the 26/11 handler who is in jail in Mumbai, has made some startling revelations to the Mumbai Police. Sources say Jundal has told his interrogators that terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba is planning to carry out aerial attacks on Indian cities and has trained 150 paragliders for this.

Jundal has reportedly told the Mumbai Police that he got to know of the LeT's plans when he visited what he calls the "Jumbo Jet Room" in 2010. According to him, the "Jumbo Jet Room" is actually a huge bunglow in eastern Karachi where top Lashkar commanders plan aerial and sea route attacks on India. These attacks, claims Jundal, are supervised by a man called Yakub who is also in charge of LeT's accounts.

Jundal says when he visited the "Jumbo Jet Room", he saw 150 parachutes sealed in boxes. When he enquired about them, Yakub reportedly told him about the LeT's plans to attack Indian cities.  

Yakub is believed to be the mentor of David Coleman Headley - the Pakistani-American LeT operative who has been convicted in the US of scouting targets in Mumbai for the Lashkar ahead of the 26/11 attacks. Investigators say Jundal told them that at the "Jumbo Jet Room", he had once met Headley who was introduced to him by Yakub as a "foreign friend."

According to Jundal, the "Jumbo Jet Room" was initially situated in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The base camp was shifted to Karachi after the 26/11 attacks.

Abu Jundal has also told the Mumbai Police about two more premises - the Karachi House and the Kashmir House. According to him, while the Karachi House in Muzaffrabad is primarily the place where LeT plans all its operations on Indian cities, the Kashmir House is dedicated only for planning attacks on Kashmir. All 26/11 terrorists, including Ajmal Aamir Kasab, were trained at the Karachi House, Jundal has revealed.

LASHKAR TRAINED INDIANS FOR 26/11?

Abu Jundal has said he believes at least three Indians were involved in the planning of the 26/11 terror attacks, in which 166 people were killed.

The first Indian named by him is Faiyaz Kagzi, who belongs to Beed in Maharashtra and is wanted in connection with the Aurangabad arms haul case. According to Jundal, Kagzi taught Hindi to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008. Jundal claims Kagzi visited the 26/11 control room in Karachi though he was not present there during the attacks. Kagzi has been detained in Saudi Arabia and faces deportation.

Another Indian named by Jundal is Masood Sheikh, also from Beed in Maharashtra and wanted in connection with the same case. Jundal says Masood Sheikh was initially supposed to be part of the 10 terrorists who were to storm into Mumbai on 26/11.  He claims Sheikh was trained along with Ajmal Kasab and nine others, but the plan was changed after he and Faiyaz Kagzi objected. He says they feared that if caught by the Indian police, Sheikh would reveal their plans.

The third Indian named by Jundal is Raheel Sheikh from Mumbai. He claims he too was trained at the control room in Karachi, but just like Faiyaz Kagzi, he wasn't present there at the time of the attacks.

Jundal was deported from Saudi Arabia to India in June. Yesterday, he recorded his confession of his role in India's worst-ever terror attack. His statement was recorded before a magistrate in Mumbai, which means it can be treated as evidence in court.

Jundal's real name is Zabiuddin Ansari and he belongs to Maharashtra. In 2006, he was wanted in India for alleged links to terrorists, but escaped to Bangladesh and then to Pakistan. After 26/11, he was asked by Lashkar commanders to move to Saudi Arabia and entered the country with a Pakistani passport. US intelligence officials intercepted phone calls and Facebook accounts he employed to identify funding and new recruits. The US alerted India, and the two countries lobbied hard to persuade Saudi Arabia to send him to Delhi.

AJMAL KASAB BROUGHT FACE-TO-FACE WITH ABU JUNDAL

Investigators believe Jundal could help connect the dots between the attacks in Mumbai and the men who planned them across the border in Pakistan. That is one of the reasons why Jundal was taken for the second time in 24 hours to another jail where Ajmal Kasab is kept in a bulletproof cell with an underground tunnel that is used to transport him to court. As Kasab and nine other young Pakistani men shattered Mumbai over a period of 72 hours, they were guided in their murderous mission by Jundal and five others stationed at a control room in Karachi.

After the Maharashtra state government permitted the Mumbai Police on Thursday to question Kasab, the two men were brought together at the Arthur Road jail on Wednesday evening. Press Trust of India says Deputy Police Commissioner (Crime Branch) Ambadas Pote asked the terrorists a series of questions who sat facing each other while security cameras recorded their session. The interrogation was reportedly stopped while the two offered evening prayers.

According to police sources, Kasab identified Jundal as a handler. Jundal has already told interrogators that in the days before Kasab and the others set sail for Mumbai, he coached them in Hindi and helped familiarise them with the landscape they would relentlessly plunder.

Jundal identified Kasab as one of the 10 men who was deputed to execute the plan that had been engineered by Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Jamaat-ud-Dawa head Hafiz Saeed, and others. India has said Jundal's information, shared first with interrogators in Delhi, confirms its repeated allegations that the 26/11 attacks were facilitated by state support in Pakistan. Islamabad has steadfastly refuted the charges.

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