New Delhi: It was not just 10 terrorists who sneaked into Mumbai on November 26, 2008 but 12 Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives who had been trained to carry out the audacious strike, Abu Jundal, an Indian handler of the attackers, has told investigators in New Delhi.
This has sent Indian sleuths into a spin, trying to figure out who the other two terrorists were who failed to turn up for the dastardly attack that killed 166 people, including some foreigners, and injured over 230.
Abu Jundal Ansari is currently singing to the Indian interrogators and has been providing new information on the 26/11 attacks that had shocked, not just the nation, but the world.
Jundal had been caught in Saudi Arabia and deported to India June 21 and was arrested at the Delhi airport soon after arrival. He was, the same day, produced before a Delhi court, which remanded him to custody of the Delhi Police Special Cell till July 5.
"A total of 12 terrorists from the LeT stable had been trained to carry out the Mumbai attack, which included the lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab, arrested in the megalopolis on Nov 28, 2008," an investigator said.
"This information was given by Jundal, who had personally trained the 12 persons in speaking Hindi and the culture of Mumbaikars," he said.
However, the LeT did not send all of the 12 men to Mumbai to carry out the attacks due to last minute changes in their operational plans, according to Jundal.
Of the 10 terrorists who entered Mumbai, nine were killed in the counter-terrorism operations carried out by the National Security Guard (NSG), navy and army commandos.
The terror suspect also informed the Indian investigators that he had met the 12 men selected for training to carry out the Mumbai carnage at the LeT training camp in Muridke and Thakot in Pakistan in 2007.
Jundal had, after his involvement in the Aurangabad arms haul of 2006 and the Ahmedabad railway station blast that year, fled India and through Bangladesh route, went to Pakistan.
He told the investigators that he was assisted in his flight by another LeT member, identified as Saukat.
"Saukat took Jundal to Nepal, Bangladesh and then Pakistan, where all kind of facilities from accommodation to food were availed by him," the investigator said.
Jundal had also met LeT chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for the first time in 2006.
"The Jundal-Lakhvi meeting was also organised by Saukat. Lakhvi liked Jundal's role in arms and ammunition smuggling. Since then Jundal became a loyal member of LeT and was selected to train the 26/11 terrorists," the officer told IANS.
According to Jundal, he and the 12 selected terrorists were in constant touch with LeT figurehead Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi, both of whom used to meet them along with two officers of the Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.