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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai terror attacks: Spy agencies warned of a 'spectacular' - Exclusive By Chris Hughes Security Correspondent 28/11/2008

Anti-terrorism forces were warned about the Mumbai massacre days before the attackers struck.

Indian intelligence knew a "spectacular" was being planned by a little-known Pakistan-based group.

MOST WANTED: Abdul Qureshi masterminded the massacre (

Undercover agents launched a desperate hunt for the plotters but were unable to track them down.

Just days before they intercepted telephone calls and radio conversations in which Punjabi-sounding voices were heard talking about an attack.

A Western intelligence source said: "Indian security forces knew something big was being planned. Details were fed into the intelligence system in India and the US but little could be done.

"It appears that many of those involved travelled into Mumbai on the day of the attack. That is why they could not be found."

Detectives believe the gang sailed to Mumbai on inflatable boats launched from much bigger vessels.

The MV Alpha, which arrived from Karachi, Pakistan, was boarded yesterday by heavily armed Indian commandos, but they did not find anything suspicious.

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The Indian army claimed some of the terrorists were Pakistanis who spoke Punjabi but pretended to be from Hyderabad in India.

But the group claiming responsibility - Deccan Mujahedeen - is unknown to security officials.

Eleven attacks took place across the city from 9.35pm to 10.50pm in a finely timed operation to kill as many as possible.

Security experts said it would have taken months to plan. The way in which Westerners were targeted in multiple assaults is typical of al-Qaeda attacks, including the September 11 outrage.

Two months ago, a truck bomb blasted the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan's capital Islamabad killing 54 people, including three Americans and the Czech ambassador.

Wajid Hassan, Pakistan's High Commissioner in London, said: "This type of terrorism is spreading through Pakistan, and now India, but we were all surprised by such a largescale attack.

"It is no coincidence this happened so soon after the Marriott bombing.

"People from all countries are being paid to fight for al-Qaeda.

"This war goes beyond any nationality."

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