Daily Israel Report

Mumbai Massacres 'Directed from Pakistan in Real Time'

Mumbai attacks directed from at least two Pakistani cities by Lashkar-e-Taiba terror leaders. Sec. Rice: Pakistan cooperating against terrorists.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/5/2008, 3:23 PM / Last Update: 12/5/2008, 9:43 PM

Fresh evidence unearthed late last week by investigators in India indicated that the Mumbai attacks were directed from at least two Pakistani cities by leaders of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to the Associated Press.

Indian and American intelligence officials have already identified a Lashkar operative, who goes by the name Yusuf Muzammil, as a mastermind of the attacks. On Thursday, Indian investigators named one of the most well-known senior figures in Lashkar, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

The names of both men came from the interrogations of the one surviving attacker, Muhammad Ajmal Kasab, 21, according to police officials in Mumbai.

Karachi-Lahore-Mumbai connection
While Muzammil appears to have served as a control officer in Lahore, Pakistan, Lakhvi, his boss and the operational commander of Lashkar, worked from Karachi, a southern Pakistani port city, said investigators in Mumbai.

It now appears that both men were in contact with their charges as they sailed to Mumbai from K
"Why didn't the Indians use 'selective fire' as accepted in units that must operate in a terrorist attack with hostages?"
arachi, and then continued guiding the attacks as they unfolded, directing the assaults and possibly providing information about the police and military response in India.

Some of the calls between the commanders and the terrorists appeared to be conversations about who would live and who would die among the gunmen's hostages, according to an official who interviewed survivors and a report by security consultants with contacts among the investigators.

An Indian terrorist was also involved in scouting targets for the plot against Mumbai, authorities said.

Torture of Victims?
Also Thursday, police said there were signs that some of the six victims of the attack on a Jewish center may have been tortured. "The victims were strangled," said Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police official. "There were injuries noticed on the bodies that were not from firing."

However, members of Israeli rescue group ZAKA, which had a team in Mumbai said it was impossible to tell if the bodies had been abused, because no autopsies were conducted in accordance with Jewish tradition.

Rice: Pakistan Cooperating
"Why didn't the Indians censor the online filming of their operatives climbing on the roof of the building?"

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters that "the Pakistani Government has made clear its intention to cooperate" with the response to the terror attacks, "because Pakistan also is at war with these extremists."

"That's a point that President Zardari has made many times, that extremists have wreaked havoc in Pakistan," she said, on board the jet that was taking her to Pakistan Thursday. "And so the global threat of extremism and terrorism has to be met by all states, taking a very tough and hard line," she said.

The Pakistani response to the Mumbai massacres "needs to be a robust response, and it needs to be one that is effective in both helping the international community, the United States, which lost citizens in this attack, the UK, which lost citizens in this attack and, of course, India, to respond to this situation so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice," she added.

Some Tough Questions
Almagor, an Israeli terror victims' group, praised India for reacting with military force to the terror attacks. "The Indian government understands that capitulating to terrorism only means that there will be even more victims in the long run," the group stated.

However, the group raised a series of questions regarding the Indian raids on Chabad House and other targets. Among these were:

1. Was there an intelligence command post in Israel or in the Consulate in India that collected information on Chabad House from previous visitors? Did the command post assist the Indians with vital information?
2. Why didn't the Indians use 'selective fire' as accepted in units that must operate in a terrorist attack with hostages?
3. Why was the cleansing operation carried out gradually and not by deploying numerous forces simultaneously, as is generally mandated in scenarios involving hostages, so as to save the lives of the abductees?
4. Why didn't the Indians censor the online filming of their operatives climbing on the roof of the building? The entire world had access to those films including, evidently, the planners and commanders of the terrorists who were able to communicate with the terrorists inside via phones and walkie-talkies.

"We must not agree to bury the truth together with the victims; we must not allow the whitewashing of the facts under guise of diplomatic good manners," the group stated.
"We may well be viewing the beginning of a trend of terrorist acts abroad. Thus it is vital that we draw accurate conclusions and set guidelines for cooperation with foreign governments in the war against terror," it concluded.