Chicago: While watching the 2008 Mumbai carnage live from Pakistan, terror outfit LeT handlers directed the attackers on phone. The handlers even asked them to change tactics to challenge the advancing commandos.

The strategy followed during the 60-hour siege of Mumbai emerged during the testimony of 26/11 co-accused David Headley in a Chicago District Court on the third day of the trial of
his childhood friend and Pakistani-Canadian Tawahhur Rana.

Rana has been slapped with a dozen charges in connection with the November 2008 attack in which 166 persons were killed while Headley, a Pakistani-American and a star prosecution
witness, has pleaded guilty.

Headley told the court that his Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT) handler Sajid Mir was in Karachi during the Mumbai attack.

Sajid Mir was in contact with the attackers via phone and he was watching TV coverage of the siege and seeing what was going on in India, he said.

Mir praised for Chhabad house attack

Sajid Mir was praised by Rana for his Chhabad House (a Jewish community centre)
attack strategy and even called him Khalid bin Walid, one of the greatest Generals in history, Headley testified.

About the operation at Chhabad House in Mumbai, Headley said Sajid Mir told the two boys(attackers) to use mattresses and  ambush the Special Forces who were descending down the staircases. Six people were killed in the attack on Chhabad house.

According to Headley, a Pakistani-American, Rana said this strategy was tactically brilliant and that he be called Khalid bin Walid, a famous Arab military strategist during the times of Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century.

Headley also said he told Sajid Mir that he has received a compliment from Rana for his "tactical brilliance." 

Bollywood on target


Headley told Rana his four targets were Somnath – an ancient temple in Gujarat, Bollywood (the Indian movie industry) Shiv Sena and Jyllands Posten, the Danish newspaper which published the controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.

On his discussion with Rana, Headley said "Rana told me to stop doing what I was doing and he was offering me a job at his farm."

"I spoke to Rana about four targets and he said 'If you did those four targets you are still not going to stop,' "

Rana also said that the nine of the 10 Mumbai attackers who died should be given Nishan-e-Haidar (Pakistan's highest military bravery award), according to Headley.

Headley also talked about his conversation with another of his Pakistani handlers Pasha and the new email he would create.

Headley also said, "Major Iqbal went to my house in Lahore in Pakistan, my employee told me over there."

India's worst ISI fears come true

With damning revelations coming from David Headley's testimony about Mumbai terror attack, New Delhi feels its worst fears have come true about Pakistan's ISI "working very closely" with terror outfits in that country and being behind a sustained "hate campaign" against India.

Headley's depositions in Mumbai terror attack trial in a Chicago court have "confirmed our suspicions that ISI is not only behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks but is also actively involved in a sustained hate campaign against India," Indian government sources said.

"Pakistan has a lot to answer and these things cannot be brushed under the carpet," the sources said.     

Asked whether the fresh revelations would hamper the Indo-Pak dialogue ,the sources said while one cannot "gloss over the diabolical aspects", India would keep its engagement going with Pakistan.

"We would like Pakistan to be a good neighbour and a prosperous country", they said.

This issue is expected to be raised by Foreign Minister S M Krishna when he meet a full-fledged Pakistan Foreign Minister.

(Agencies)