Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley, one of the main conspirators in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, said on February 8 that Pakistani terrorists attempted twice to attack Mumbai before the 26/11 strikes, but didn’t succeed.
Headley, an American national, was deposing as a witness before a Mumbai court via video conference from the US. This was for the first time perhaps in the world’s legal history that a terrorist will tender live evidence in a foreign country.
Headley, who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the terror attacks, revealed to the Mumbai court that he changed his name from Sayeed Dawood Gilani to David Headley in order to carry out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
PTI David Headley
He also said that he joined the LeT after being “influenced” by its head Hafiz Saeed and took his first “course” with the group in 2002 in Muzaffarabad.
Major discloser that were made during this deposition were:
- Headley revealed that he came in contact with the ISI back in 2006, that is two years prior to the attack when he was arrested near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border along with a drug peddler.
- Headley said that he was persuaded to join Lashkar and work for them after he heard a speech given by LeT head Hafiz Saeed.
- He also revealed about two failed attempts to attack Mumbai. He said the first attempt was made in September 2008 but boat hit rocks in the ocean, and weapons and explosives lost but those on board survived. Second attempt to attack Mumbai was made in October 2008, those involved in first attempt were involved in this as well, but attack failed.
- Headley said his main contact in Lashkar e Taiba was Sajid Mir, also an accused in the case.
- Mir wanted Headley to set up a business in India and also gave him instructions as how to make videos of Mumbai to help them prepare for the attack.
- Mir asked him to make several videos of Mumbai to prepare for a coordinated terror strikes, which ultimately resulted in 166 people being killed that fateful night.
- Headley had visited India eight times before the 26/11 and on seven of those occasions had come directly from Pakistan.
- He revealed that he applied for his India visa in the US twice and on both the occasion he wrong information.
After Headley’s disposition, Public Prosecutor from government of Maharashtra Ujjwal Nikam spoke to the media and said: