Abu Jundal: Wanted all over for strikes everywhere

Two days before the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives carried out a mock drill in Pakistan. The revelation came during the interrogation of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal by the Delhi Police Special Cell, which arrested him on June 21.

The interrogation report says Ansari has admitted he was in the "control room" in Baitullah Mujahiddin near the international airport in Karachi, from where he had supervised the mock drill as well as the operation.

Present in the control room besides Ansari were Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi (the LeT military commander) and Abu Alkama, an LeT commander who had allegedly trained terrorists for the September serial blasts in Delhi that year. Sources said after the arrest of Lakhvi, the control room was destroyed so no documents could be found.

Sources said Ansari instructed the operatives to restrict the mock drill to two hours, apparently to ensure that the actual attack would not go on for too many days. During the drill, he used the same phone number and the same satellite phone set that he would use during 26/11.

He initially trained 12 potential attackers but only 10 decided to go ahead with the other two, the sources said, having lost "willpower". They said that after the attack, those in the control room had been worried by initial reports about the supposed arrest of Ismail, leader of the group, then relieved to learn it was Kasab who had been arrested.

While training those selected, Ansari had also organised a "daawat" to recruit operatives. "They would party with chicken, mutton, khamiri, bada. But they refrained from consuming wine," a source said. Fifty youths had received an invitation for the daawat. They began talking about the problems faced by Muslims, specifically during the post-Godhra riots. Later, they would discuss carrying out a jihad.

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