India releases names, details on Mumbai gunmen
By MUNEEZA NAQVI – (The Associated Press)
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Police in India said Tuesday they had identified the nine suspected Islamic militants killed during the three-day siege of Mumbai and uncovered new details about them — including their hometowns in Pakistan.
The new information, which included three gruesome photos of maimed faces, appeared to bolster India’s claims that all the attackers were from Pakistan.
The chief police investigator into the attacks also showed photos of eight of the men — some from identity cards, while others were gruesome shots of the dead attackers. The body of the ninth, he said, was too badly burned.
Most of the attackers came from Pakistan’s Punjab province, and all were between the ages of 20 and 28.
India has blamed the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks that left 171 people dead in India’s financial center last, and have demanded that Pakistan take action.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Mumbai’s chief police investigator Rakesh Maria gave the names and the aliases used by the attackers. He also showed photographs of eight of the men and gave details of what he said were their hometowns in Pakistan. He did not say how police had tracked down their hometowns, although they have been interrogating the lone surviving gunman.
Maria said the leader of the group was Ismail Khan, 25, from Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, who he called veteran of other Lashkar attacks. He did not provide details.
Khan led the assault on Mumbai’s busy railway station.
Pakistan has intensified its crackdown on Lashkar-e-Taiba by arresting 20 more people but said Tuesday it will not hand any of its citizens over to India.
The United States also is pressing Pakistan to help catch those behind the attack, and avert a crisis between the nuclear-armed neighbors that would harm efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaida.
However, for some of the gunmen police only had first names and aliases. Maria said the men had been introduced to each other by their aliases, but during the operation had told each other there real names.
The youngest attacker was identified as 20-year-old Shoaib, alias Soheb, who came from Narowal district in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He was among those who attacked the Taj Mahal hotel, Maria said. Two came from the central Pakistani city of Multan, Maria said.
Some of the photographs were taken from identity documents found on the dead gunmen, while others were pictures taken of the bodies. Some had charred faces, while others were swollen and battered.
Officials at Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry could not be reached immediately for comment, though President Asif Ali Zardari said last week that he doubted the captured gunman was a Pakistani.
Also Tuesday, Maria said the captured gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, had asked to be allowed to write a letter to his father in which he expressed regret for carrying out the attacks.
In the letter, written in Urdu, Kasab said “he has been misled by these people,” Maria said, apparently referring to those who recruited him. “Youngsters in the village should be told not to believe in this indoctrination,” Maria said, reading from a copy of the letter.
The new head of the Jewish center ravaged by the gunmen vowed Tuesday to restore the facility — as did the owners of the iconic Taj Mahal hotel, scene of much of the bloodshed.
Chabad house, the Jewish center, was one of several places captured by suspected Islamic gunmen in the Nov. 26-29 attacks. A commando assault ended the two-day siege of the center, but six people inside the building — all Jewish foreigners — were killed.
“We are staying at the same center and will rebuild it even nicer than it was,” said Rabbi Dov Goldberg, an Israeli who was sent by the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which ran the house.
Among those killed in the attack was American-Israeli Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka.
The building served as a spiritual oasis for Mumbai’s small Jewish community, traveling Jewish backpackers and visiting businessmen, providing a synagogue and kosher food.
Goldberg said the center, which was ravaged by dozens of explosions during the commando assault, would be refurbished and security would be strengthened. “We will do all that’s necessary for security and for safety,” he said.
The Holtzbergs’ 2-year-old son, Moshe, survived the attack after being whisked out the building by his nanny and another worker.
The owners of the Taj Mahal, scene of much of the bloodshed, planned an interfaith prayer ceremony to rededicate the building, although it was far from clear how long it would take to rebuild the 105-year-old structure.
In a statement, the hotel said it hoped “the hotel will shine again in tribute to the people who fell during the terrorist attacks” after the eventual rededication ceremony — performed by Parsi, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Jewish religious leaders.
The historic hotel suffered extensive damage during the siege, frequently catching fire as the gunmen and commandos battled it out. The place was riddled with bullets and dozens of grenades were thrown in the building.
A fire broke out at the hotel early Tuesday, likely caused by a short circuit, but no additional damage was done, the hotel said in a statement.
Fake college ID cards help police identify terrorists
9 Dec 2008, 2206 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: All the ten terrorists who attacked the city on November 26 carried fake student identity cards of different Indian colleges which
helped the city police identify them despite bodies of many of them being damaged beyond recognition, a senior police officer said today.
The police also recovered their photographs from the fake ID cards and today released eight of them.
“Most of the photographs were recovered from the fake college identity cards that were recovered from the bodies of the terrorists,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said.
However, the ID cards of three terrorist were damaged and their photos could not be recovered from them, so, the police had to release the photographs of their dead bodies, he said.
Meanwhile, photo of one of the terrorists was not released since his body was badly charred. He has been identified as Nazeer alias Abu Umer by Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman, the lone arrested terrorist, Maria said adding Nazeer was killed by NSG commandos at the Taj Hotel.
The police also released the names of the ten individuals on the basis of Ajmal’s interrogation.
Mumbai attacks: Terrorists pictured for the first time
By Andy Rudd, Mirror.co.uk 9/12/2008
The photographs of the gang were released along with their names and aliases and home towns by Chief investigator Rakesh Maria.
He said that the body of the ninth terrorist was too badly burned to be shown.
Police have been interrogating the lone surviving gunman Azam Amir Kasav – dubbed the Smiling Assassin – about the three-day attack which claimed the lives of 172 people and injured 239.
He revealed that terrorist planners had visited Mumbai a month ago to take photos and film the spots they wanted to hit, including the Taj Mahal Palace hotel where it is now suspected two “sleeper” terrorists were working as a chef and waiter.
The Pakistani gang had slit the throat of a coastguard before sailing into Mumbai to launch their killing spree.
Once holed up inside the Taj they texted their fanatic pals to brag they were eating curry while slaughtering guests.
Indian police will use the evidence of 21-year-old Kasav, from Gipal Pura in Pakistan, to help track the brains behind the plot which is now feared to have claimed more than 300 people.
Kasav was captured alive after fleeing Mumbai’s railway station in a stolen Skoda on Thursday evening. As he sped off he was involved in a gun battle with a police officer. Kasav took two bullets, the officer was killed.
The young killer had pretended he was also dead, but as his body was taken to hospital police saw him move and anti-terror officers pounced.
Kasav eventually told detectives that he was among a group of 10 who left Karachi in Pakistan on one boat for the 500-mile journey to Mumbai.
Six miles from Mumbai they overpowered a fishing vessel called Kuber, hoping to use the local boat to pass through a checkpoint. But the plan failed when a coastguard cutter approached them.
When the cutter was alongside they struck and one of the coastguard had his throat slit while the other was made to navigate the men onwards to Mumbai.
Four miles out, they dumped the vessel before switching to dinghies to enter India. Each man had an AK47 machine gun, 50-bullet magazines and eight hand grenades.
Kasav told police their aim had been to create another 9/11: “The Taj was to be reduced to rubble – and we had the ammunition to do it,” he said.
Terrorists had ordered the chefs to cook them chicken and lamb curry, which they feasted on while picking out hostages to kill. Groups of terrified guests were tied and bound with bed sheets, marched into rooms and ordered to urinate on one another.
Before people were shot they had their wallets emptied and were stripped of all their jewellery.
According to survivor reports, the gang had whooped with joy as news broke that intelligence chief Hemant Karkare and other policemen had been killed outside.
A police source said: “The ballroom was the control room used by the attackers. They packed it with satellite phones, mobile phones, computers and TVs. We are going through all the information now to see what we can find.”
The Indian Army finally brought the siege at the Taj to an end when hundreds of soldiers stormed the building just after 7am, killing the remaining three terrorists