- al Qaeda sought to replicate 26/11 attack
- Original plan to carry out 26/11 attack was designed by al Qaeda
- ISI stole 26/11 Al-Qaeda's plan and handed over to Lashkar
- al Qaeda felt 26/11 had more impact than 9/11
The al Qaeda wanted to stage a 26/11 styled attack in Europe and the nod of the Osma Bin Laden was sought for the same. This was a revelation made at the Brooklyn Federal court which is trying Abid Naseer, a 28-year-old Pakistani who is accused of plotting to launch an attack on the New York subway system.
It may be interesting to recall here that the original plan to attack Mumbai on 26/11 was not that of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. It was the al Qaeda which had originally planned on hitting the city and the entire plan was designed by the outfit only to be stolen by the ISI and handed over to the Lashkar.
Whose idea was 26/11?
The original plan of the 26/11 attack was designed by Ilyas Kashmiri. He headed the 313 Brigade, a wing of the al Qaeda. The 313 brigade was the operations and combat wing of the al Qaeda.
Two years prior to the attacks of 26/11, Kashmiri has shown interest in waging a war in Kashmir. He felt that the time had come to make a foot hold in India and espouse the Kashmir cause.
Kashmiri also felt that for them to build up a strong network in India, they would need to carry out a spectacular attack on Indian soil and hence began the plan to attack Mumbai.
Kashmiri roped in nearly 25 persons for the attack and began training them. He was in touch with David Headley who was inclining towards the al Qaeda at that point in time. Headley during one of his visits to Pakistan even discussed the attack and promised to scout for targets in Mumbai.
The Lashkar had begun to crumble
However there was a problem within the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its operatives had started to disintergrate. This was a worrying sign for the ISI which wanted to keep the outfit united. The cadres in the Lashkar had complained that they were not doing enough and had threatened to quit the outfit and join the al Qaeda in Afghanistan to battle against the United States of America.
The ISI got wind of the idea being floated by Ilyas Kashmiri. They summoned Kashmiri and told him point blank that he shall not go ahead with the attack and even directed him to share the plans with them.
The Lashkar was roped in and the plan details shared with them. The Lashkar trained for the attack and the rest is history.
Why did the al Qaeda want to replicate 26/11 and not 9/11?
The latest trial at Brooklyn shows that the al Qaeda had sought Bin Laden's nod to execute a 26/11 styled attack in Europe. The same al Qaeda which had carried out the 9/11 attack which had left the world stunned however chose a 26/11 styled attack instead.
Several analysts say while 9/11 was huge, the 26/11 attack had a much bigger impact. The 9/11 attack was over in a matter of a few hours while the 26/11 attack dragged on for almost three days. Attacks that drag on have a major impact on the minds of the people.
Moreover in a 26/11 styled attack a terrorist group gets the fodder to bargain as there is also a hostage crisis involved. Governments tend to crumble during such attacks and hence the al Qaeda preferred replicating the 26/11 attack.