LET is more dangerous today than ever: Expert

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Washington, Nov 17: Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack, is "more dangerous than ever" as its modus operandi has been adopted by terror groups around the world, a former CIA analyst said.

"Lashkar-e Taiba paid no penalty for its attack, nor did its Pakistani patrons. The group's senior leadership operates freely in Pakistan and enjoys the support and protection of the Pakistani Army. LET is more dangerous today than ever," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and currently director The Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institute said.

Terrorists

In an op-ed Riedel said the horrific terrorist attack in Paris was 'likely modelled on an earlier terrorist horror, the November 26-29, 2008 attack in Mumbai', India that killed 166 people.

"Mumbai has been studied by both terrorists and counter-terrorists because it set a gold standard for how a small group of suicidal fanatics can paralyse a major city, attract global attention, and terrorise a continent," he noted.

"The world needs to do much better countering the Islamic State and its leadership," said Riedel.

Riedel said the Paris and Mumbai attacks both used small, well-armed bands of terrorists striking simultaneously and sequentially against multiple soft targets in an urban area.

The Paris attackers added suicide vests to increase the carnage. In Mumbai, all but one fought to the death as ordered by the plot's masterminds, he said. The Mumbai attackers used cell phones to communicate with their bosses in Pakistan, who gave them instructions as they carried out their gruesome operation.

"So far, that level of sophistication and command and control seems missing in Paris," he observed.

"The attack in Mumbai was the work of Lashkar-e Taiba (LET)...It was supported by the Pakistani intelligence service ISI and al-Qaida. The planning took over three years. The targets were carefully studied and examined in advance," Riedel said.

It became a role model for other terrorists. Al-Qaida planned a mini-Mumbai for Copenhagen in late 2009, but the FBI’s arrest of the main plotter, a Pakistani-American, in July 2009 thwarted that attack. Somali terrorists used the Mumbai tactics in Nairobi at the Westgate Mall in September 2013, he observed.

"The Islamic State group, which claimed credit for Paris, has used Mumbai-style multiple attacks in Iraq. They probably hoped that the siege would last longer. Spanish authorities arrested IS operatives earlier this month who may have been planning a mini-Mumbai in Madrid,"

PTI

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