Pakistani vessel sought in Mumbai attack

An American counterterrorism official said there was strong evidence that Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistani militants who have fought Indian troops in Kashmir, had a “maritime capability” and would have been able to mount the sophisticated operation in Mumbai. The Mumbai terrorists, says a prisoner, set off on November 21 from an isolated creek near Karachi without the arms and ammunition they were to use in Mumbai. The group received arms and ammunition from a large Pakistani vessel which picked them up the following day. The vessel, whose ownership is now the subject of an international probe, had four Pakistanis apart from the crew.

A day later, they came across an Indian-owned trawler, Kuber, which was promptly commandeered on the seas. Four of the fishermen who were on the trawler were killed, but its skipper, or tandel in fishermen lingo, Amarjit Singh, was forced to proceed towards India. Amarjit was killed the next day, and Ismail the terrorist who was killed at Girgaum Chowpaty took the wheel.

A trained sailor, Ismail used the GPS to reach Mumbai coast on November 26. The group, however, slowed down its advance as they had reached during the day time while the landing was planned after dusk. The group shifted to inflatable boats, before disembarking at Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade.

The Kuber had set sail for Jakhau in Kutch near India-Pakistan border for fishing on November 14. Usually these boats return from fishing within 10 days but this one did not. The fisheries department was alerted about this on November 24. Kuber, with a 118 HP marine engine, had five crew members on board.

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