US prosecutors charge four more Pak-based LeT men over 26/11

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Mumbai terror attacks 2008
Chicago, April 26: Four more Pakistani conspirators have been charged by US prosecutors with carrying out the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In a second superseding indictment filed by the federal prosecutors before a court here yesterday, the four were identified as Sajid Mir, Mazhar Iqbal, Abu Qahafa and one by the name of ''Major Iqbal''. Besides, the indictment mentioned an unnamed individual "Lashkar Member D." All are residents of Pakistan.

The four men identified were previously mentioned but not named in the indictments that charged Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana in connection with the Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people, including six Americans.

Sajid Mir was associated with LeT and supervised others linked with the outfit. He served as a "handler" for Headley, who has confessed to his involvement in Mumbai attacks, and others who were directed to carry out actions relating to planning, preparing for and carrying out the terrorist strikes on behalf of LeT.

While Abu Qahafa was an associate with LeT who trained others in combat techniques for use in terrorist attacks; Mazhar Iqbal and ''Lashkar Member D'' were LeT commanders.

An individual known as ''Major Iqbal'' participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by LeT in Mumbai, federal prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal conspired with each other, Headley, ''Lashkar Member D'' and others known and unknown to the grand jury, to deliver, place, discharge and detonate explosives and other lethal devices in, into and against places of public use, state and government facilities, public transportation systems and infrastructure facilities in India.

They acted with the intent to cause death and serious bodily injury, and with the intent to cause extensive destruction of such places and facilities and where such destruction would likely result in major economic loss.

The indictment noted that the David Headley was a national of the United States, from where he was arrested.

The court documents showed that in February 2009, one Abdur Rehman Hashmim Syed took Headley to meet LeT terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri in Waziristan region of Pakistan.

During the meeting, Kashmiri indicated that he had reviewed Copenhagen videotapes made by Headley and suggested that they consider using a truck bomb to attack a Danish newspaper for publishing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

Kashmiri also indicated that he could provide manpower for the operation and that the participation of Lashkar was not necessary.

Headley, the federal prosecutors, said was associated with LeT and attended its training camps in Pakistan which began in or around February 2002, August 2002, April 2003, August 2003 and December 2003. he assisted senior LeT men in planning and preparing for terrorist attacks.

Currently languishing in a Chicago jail, Headley had bargained with the US authorities that in exchange for his guilty plea he would not be extradited to India or face death penalty.

As part of the conspiracy in or about late 2005, defendants Sajid Mir and Abu Qahafa and LeT Member D advised Headley that he would be travelling to India to perform surveillance of potential targets for attacks by LeT, and recommended that he take steps to conceal his association with Pakistan and his Muslim religion during travels in India.

Federal prosecutors said that in February 2006, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Headley changed his given name of ''Daood Gilani'' to David Coleman Headley in order to facilitate his activities on behalf of Lashkar by enabling him to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.

In the spring of 2006, Sajid Mir and Lashkar Member D discussed with Headley the idea that the Pakistani-American could open an immigration office in Mumbai, as a cover for his surveillance activities in India, federal prosecutors said.

Further in June 2006, Headley travelled to Chicago, Illinois, advised Rana of his assignment to perform surveillance for potential targets in India and obtained the Pakistani-Canadian''s approval for opening a First World office in Mumbai, as cover for these activities.

Rana directed an individual associated with First World to prepare documents to support Headley's cover story with respect to the opening of a First World office in Mumbai, and advised Headley regarding how to obtain a visa for travel to India.

In applying for his visa for travel to India, Headley misrepresented his birth name, father''s true name and the purpose for his travel, federal prosecutors alleged.

In July 2006, Major Iqbal provided to Headley approximately USD 25,000 to, among other purposes, establish and operate the Mumbai office of First World and pay for living expenses while Headley carried out his assignments for Lashkar.

In September 2006, February 2007, September 2007, April 2008 and July 2008, Headley travelled to Mumbai for extended periods for the purpose of conducting surveillance of possible targets of attacks by LeT, using his association with First World as cover for his travels.

Prior to Headley's departure for each of these trips, defendants Mir and Major Iqbal along with others instructed Headley regarding locations where he was to conduct video surveillance in and around Mumbai, as well as other locations in India.

After each trip, Headley travelled to Pakistan, where he met Sajid Mir, Major Iqbal and persons associated with Lashkar to report on the results of his surveillance, and provided them with photographs and videos from the surveillance, the federal prosecutors said.

PTI

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