Chicago: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had initially scheduled the Mumbai terror attacks on 29 September, but abandoned its plan as attackers got stuck on a rock and the boat in which they were travelling was destroyed, according to unsealed court documents.
According to the documents, Sajid Mir, one of David Coleman Headley’s Pakistani handlers, told him that the attack would occur on the 27th night of Ramadan, which in 2008 would occur on 29 September.
Around this time, Headley received a text message from Sajid stating something to the effect of “the game is afoot.”
After Ramadan, however, Sajid came to Headley’s home in Pakistan and explained that the boat carrying the attackers got stuck on a rock and was destroyed, the court documents said.
“Sajid told Headley that everyone on board survived, in part because they had life vests. Headley subsequently met with Pasha and told him about the failed attempt. Pasha, said that the failed attempt was a sign that God was not happy with Lashkar,” it said.
Sajid told Headley that there would be a second attempt at the Mumbai attack in October 2008. Soon thereafter, Sajid told Headley that the second attempt failed.
Sajid explained that Lashkar had rented a boat for the attempt. After two or three days, the attackers spotted an Indian fishing vessel and attempted to open fire on it, but the vessel escaped.
“Sajid said that the ‘boys’ were demoralised and sent back to a safe house in Karachi. In or around mid-November, Sajid related to Headley that the team of attackers were in Karachi, Pakistan, readying for a third attempt at the attack on Mumbai,“ the court papers said.
It was on 26 November 2008, Headley received a text message from Sajid with words to the effect of “turn on your tv.” Headley then learned that the attacks had begun.
After receiving the text from Sajid, Headley also told Pasha, Major Iqbal and Saulat Rana the news about the attacks.
Starting on 26 November 2008, ten attackers carried out multiple assaults with firearms, grenades and improvised explosive devices against multiple targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal hotel, the Oberoi hotel, Leopold Cafe, the Chabad House and the CST train station.
Headley had performed surveillance of each of these locations. The attackers came ashore at a small fisherman’s bay on the coast of Mumbai, the same location that Headley had recommended.
Some attackers took taxis to reach their locations and, along the way, secreted improvised explosive devices under the drivers’ seat.
Some of these devices later exploded in other parts of Mumbai.