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Did a ‘super-agent’ in Delhi help ISI attack Mumbai?


New Delhi, Nov 9: The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI used "a super-agent" based in New Delhi and code-named "Honey Bee" to help facilitate the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008, a new book says.

When Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley suggested to his Pakistani contacts that Mumbai could be attacked, a Major Iqbal told him that if he was to scout that city, he would need to know how to record his findings.

Authors Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark say in "The Siege: The Attack on the Taj" (Penguin): "Major Iqbal gave him (Headley) what he described as 'classified Indian files' that he said had been obtained from within the Indian police and army and which 'revealed their training and limitations'.

"The major boasted they had a super-agent at work in New Delhi who was known as 'Honey Bee'.

"The major revealed that while he (Major Iqbal) would guide Headley, the Mumbai operation was to be run by Lashkar (Lashkar-e-Toiba)" the Pakistani terror group committed to war against India and which finally master-minded the Mumbai mayhem.

The 319-page book does not say who Major Iqbal is but the man comes out as a senior operative of the all pervasive Inter-Services Intelligence.

It was also "Honey Bee" who is said to have come up with the idea of a potential landing area in Badhwar Park, a fishing colony in south Mumbai, where Lashkar operatives could reach by sea to enter the Indian city.

Eventually, in November 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists attacked prominent targets in Mumbai, unfolding a bloody drama that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead and almost causing a war between the two countries.

Barring one who was arrested (and later hanged), all the terrorists were killed by Indian security forces. The most prominent of their targets was the sea-side Taj Mahal Palace hotel where Headley had stayed.

Much before that, however, Faiza, one of Headley's wives, became suspicious of his terrorist links and reported this to the US embassy in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the book says.

"She was most worried about his frequent trips to Mumbai," says the book. "Her husband was back and forth to that city, she said, even though at home he hated India and its government.

"She had photos to prove it, including copies of all of those shot inside the Taj (hotel) in April and May 2007. She got them out. 

"That was supposedly 'our honeymoon', she explained, but she had been introduced to his friends as a 'business client'. Was he planning something over there?"

The US embassy officials did not respond, the book says.

The book says that the US embassy later categorized Faiza's complaints against Headley as a 'domestic row'. 

"Faiza wrote in her diary: 'I told them, he's either a terrorist, or he's working for you. They pretty much told me to get lost.'"

A few days later, a furious Headley confronted Faiza and demanded to know why she had gone to the US embassy. The book quotes her as writing in her diary: "How did he know?"

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