LeT planning New Year attack to avenge Abu Qasim’s death: Intelligence (Special Report)

New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Operatives of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are planning to avenge the death of its senior commander Abu Qasim by carrying out a series of bombings or attacks on “prominent Indian personalities, public and tourist places in eight Indian cities” on or around the New Year, according to intelligence officials.

To carry out the attacks, four senior LeT commanders had already infiltrated into India, the officials told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Qasim, accused of masterminding an ambush in Udhampur on August 5 that left two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel dead and 10 injured, was killed in a gun fight with security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on October 29.

Qasim, who hailed from Bahawalpur in Punjab province was trained in Pakistan.

Officials said Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir were the prime targets for the LeT operatives while Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Goa and Kolkata were also on their radar.

“Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials have sent an alert to all state police departments and state intelligence agencies to hunt the commanders and look for persons who may help them,” an official said.

He said some prominent leaders, including the prime minister, are on the LeT’s radar for attack.

Qasim was also the handler of Pakistani militant Naveed, who was captured by villagers following the ambush of BSF personnel. Naveed’s accomplice Noman was killed in a gun battle. Qasim, who had a bounty of Rs.20 lakh on his head, had allegedly arranged transportation and accommodation for Naveed and his accomplice.

Naveed told security officials that Qasim had briefed them and given them money for expenses prior to the attack.

The official said intelligence units had been tracking all the regular communication methods used by the infiltrators, including emails, mobile phones, landline phones and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls.

However, the LeT operatives may be using technology which is difficult to crack.The Intelligence Bureau suspects the operatives are in regular touch with the new India chief Abu Dujana, who took on the responsibility after Qasim’s death.

The official said the operatives are possibly equipped with the advanced hand-held radio sets configured with an android operating system to communicate with their handlers.

In its alert note to police forces, the Intelligence Bureau says the operatives may be carrying an improvised version of ‘goTenna’, which enables one to share text and locations regardless of cell coverage or WiFi.

Combined with a Bluetooth, the equipment generates its own signal and automatically coordinates with all other units within range.

This version of ‘goTenna’, also known as ‘Y-SMS’, was discovered by intelligence officers after they recovered some damaged android phones during a recent raid carried out against terrorists in Kashmir.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.s@ians)

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