MUMBAI Dec 4 The gunmen who attacked Mumbai
took orders from the operations chief of a Pakistani Islamist
militant group who was designated a terrorist by the United
States in May, Indian security officials said on Thursday.
The lone surviving gunman told his interrogators he and the
other nine attackers were in contact with Zaki-ur-Rehman
Lakhvi, whom the United States says is the operations chief of
the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group.
LeT made its name fighting Indian rule in the disputed
Kashmir region and is on U.S., U.N. and Indian terrorist lists.
It has in the past had links with Pakistani intelligence.
India blames LeT for 2006 bombings on Mumbai trains, and a
2001 attack on India's parliament that fuelled tension that
pushed India and Pakistan to the brink of a fourth war.
Gunman Azam Amir Kasav told his interrogators they spoke to
Lakhvi and other LeT leaders during their boat journey to
Mumbai and also while they battled commandos inside two Mumbai
hotels, where most of the 171 people who died in the attacks
According to two senior Mumbai police officials involved in
the investigations, information on several calls made to
Pakistan was contained on a satellite telephone found on a
fishing boat hijacked and used by the gunmen on their journey
"They were given directions like where to land the dinghy,
where to keep the bombs," said a security official, referring
to the small boat the attackers used to come ashore in Mumbai.
They also found a GPS navigation device that had a route
plotted back to Karachi, the officials said.
Kasav, who agreed to come to Mumbai on the promise of cash
for his poor family, told officers that their handlers gave
them "strategic advice" about the operation over the telephone
and directed their movement, one of the officers told Reuters.
The 21-year-old militant, who said he was from Faridkot
area of Pakistan's Punjab province, also told investigators
Lakhvi was among those who had briefed them about the targets
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said he doubts
Kasav is a Pakistani, and has said that anyone found complicit
in the attacks will be tried in Pakistan.
According to the United States government, Lakhvi, 48, has
directed LeT military operations in Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq and
southeast Asia and ordered the recruitment and training of
suicide bombers in 2006.
"Prior to that, Lakhvi instructed LeT operatives to conduct
attacks in well-populated areas," said a U.S. Treasury
Department media release announcing his designation as a
India has demanded Pakistan hand over 20 men, including LeT
founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil, head
of LeT's anti-India operations.
New Delhi has long been angry that Pakistan is either
unwilling or unable to stop militant groups from planning
attacks on India from Pakistani soil.
(Editing by Bryson Hull and Paul Tait)