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In Mumbai, David Headley was a tourist who loved fishing

Tuesday, 5 July 2011 - 4:22pm IST | Place: Washington, DC | Agency: PTI
On the instructions of ISI, Headley masqueraded as a tourist interested in angling, taking fishing boats into the waters off Mumbai to identify a suitable landing site for LeT terrorists, who months later created mayhem in India's financial capital.

On the instructions of ISI, David Headley masqueraded as a tourist interested in angling, taking fishing boats into the waters off Mumbai to identify a suitable landing site for LeT terrorists, who months later created mayhem in India's financial capital.

Headley, who played a key role in planning the Mumbai terrorist attack by carrying out surveillance of the targets, told a Chicago court during the recently-concluded trial of co-accused Tahawwur Rana that he did this at the direction of the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan.

"Yes," Headley said when asked by the defense attorney whether he was trained by the ISI to carry out surveillance of the landing site where the LeT men were to ultimately land through sea in November 2008.

"Mainly Major Iqbal was training you on how to pick a good landing site?," the defence attorney asked.

"Yes. And also with Sajid (Mir), but mainly with Major Iqbal," the Pakistani-American LeT operative said.

"Major Iqbal knew what a good landing site would have in it, correct?" the attorney asked. "Yes," he responded.

In fact, Headley used fishing boats to figure out the navigational hazards and find out how easy it would be to come in and out of the harbour and also carried GPS to put on the waypoints.

"So when you came in, you were looking around, set up video camera, coming down to see a fishing village or something like that, correct?" the attorney asked.

"Correct," said the 50-year-old 26/11 accused.

"And careful part on it -- you became a tourist who had an interest in fishing?," he was asked, to which he said 'yes'.

While he went out on fishing boats, Headley took a GPS with with him to put in the waypoints.

"Fishermen tend to take pretty much the same route out, don't they?" the attorney asked.

"Yes, they do," Headley replied.

"So if a fishing vessel was coming in and it had the waypoints, it would be on track?" he was asked.

"Yes," he said.

"We do this every day, we're not going to hit a rock," the attorney asked. "Right," he answered.

"So that was extremely important?" the attorney said.

"Yes," said Headley.

"And again, you were posing as a tourist?" the attorney asked again. "Yes," Headley replied.

Headley also informed the court that in April of 2007 he stayed with his second wife Faiza at the Taj so that he can safely take pictures of the hotel from inside and in doing so no one could identify him or have any suspicious.

During their stay at the Taj, Faiza dressed like a Muslim, he told the court in response to a question.

When asked by the defense attorney as to why his wife dressed up like a Muslim, while he went there as an western tourist so that no one suspect him, Headley conceded that he was a bit careless.

"But definitely I was being careless, and I just kept it confined to the Taj area," he said.

During the grilling he conceded that he took videos of the iconic Taj Hotel many times, all of which were passed on to his ISI and Lashkar handlers in Pakistan.

Headley told the 12-member jury of the Chicago court that in April 2007, Taj was the primary target of the terrorist attack but this was not very clear to him.




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