Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ordered by phone to kill

Ordered by phone to kill

Jan 07, 2009

MUMBAI, INDIA - MILITANTS who attacked Mumbai were urged to kill their hostages in cold blood and fight to the death in the name of Islam, according to transcripts of intercepted telephone calls made public on Wednesday.

In one exchange, one of the two attackers who stormed the luxury Oberoi-Trident hotel was told to 'inflict the maximum damage' and to 'kill all hostages, except the two Muslims' they were holding.

'We have three foreigners, including women,' the attacker identified as Fahadullah said.

'Kill them. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire,' he was told.

The transcript then said the two attackers were heard to tell the two Muslims to step aside and order the hostages to stand in a line. Gunfire was heard then cheering.

Details of the attackers' conversations, allegedly with their six 'Pakistan-based handlers", are contained in a dossier of evidence that India says 'unmistakenly' points to elements in Pakistan being behind the attacks.

The document, obtained by The Hindu English-language newspaper, also shows items recovered in the aftermath of the attacks, in which 165 civilians and security service personnel and nine of the 10 attackers died.

As well as Pakistan-made weapons and global positioning systems with co-ordinates of a sea route from Pakistan, it includes items such as pickle, washing powder and shaving cream manufactured across the border.

Much of the detail has emerged piecemeal since the 60-hour siege ended on Nov 29, including claims that the banned Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba trained, equipped and financed the operation.

Islamabad has angrily rejected allegations from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the attacks had the support of some 'official agencies' and that Pakistan was using terrorism as an 'instrument of state policy'.

According to the transcripts, one of the two attackers at the Nariman House Jewish cultural centre was told: 'Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam.

'Fight so that your fight becomes a shining example. Be strong in the name of Allah... Brother, you have to fight for the victory of Islam.'

A separate call added: 'Keep in mind that the hostages are of use only as long as you do not come under fire because of their safety.

'If you are still threatened, then don't saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages, immediately kill them.' The caller went on: 'If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel.' An attacker replied: 'So be it, God willing.'

Five hostages, including a rabbi and his wife, were later found dead with the two militants.

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