It was an emotional moment for ordinary citizens and the families of the Mumbai martyrs when Ajmal Kasab confessed to his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Vijay Salaskar, Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte – three officers, all seated in the same car, drove down to confront the terrorists and were killed in a shower of bullets. The tragedy defines the losses of 26/11.
Kasab also shot at Abdul Qureshi at CST, and a bullet is still lodged in his shoulder.
”Kasab should be hanged. He did not differentiate between Hindus or Muslim, woman or children, just kept firing. He is not a Muslim,” said Abdul.
Karuna Waghela’s husband had offered Kasab water, and in return, Kasab killed him. She thinks the confession comes too late.
“Kasab’s confession is fine. But all this has come too late. My young children still ask about their father. I have nothing to say to them,” said Karuna.
During the trial that has completed 65 hearings, key witnesses have corroborated Kasab’s crimes – the doctors who treated him at Nair Hospital, the railway commentator who dodged his gunfire, and kept warning people to safety, the 10-year-old witness, who took Kasab’s bullet, and is on crutches, the photojournalists who captured his killing spree, and the constable who took him on with a gun that refused to work.
The terror attack in Mumbai was something all residents watched in shock and pain. And today as Ajmal Kasab has finally confessed his crime, this is what people have to say:
“The family members have already lost their loved ones. So what kind of justice is this?,” said a Mumbai resident.
“Still there are camps running in Kashmir and there are still blasts. So it will happen again,” said another.
Mumbai: Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only gunman on trial for the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, on Tuesday told a court his handlers had instructed him to fire at people indiscriminately and take hostages at the city’s main railway terminus.
Kasab, who made a dramatic confession before special judge M L Tahilyani on Monday, said his handlers had given him detailed instructions for the attack on the CST Railway Terminus.
“I want to give a message to perpetrators across the border,” said Kasab.
Judge Tahilyani then adjourned the court for Tuesday, as the prosecution wanted more time to go over Kasab’s statements.
Kasab on Monday admitted before the court he was a Pakistani and narrated in chilling detail the events leading to the killing spree that left 180 people dead.
In a dramatic twist to the case, Kasab also recounted how he and his associates undertook the sea voyage from Karachi to Mumbai to attack 13 locations in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008.
He recounted how Lashkar-e-Toiba militants had trained him and then packed him for the attack on Mumbai.
A day after confessing to his involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Ajmal Kasab made some more revelations in court on Tuesday.
When the judge asked him how he came to know that Pakistan had accepted him as a citizen. Kasab replied, “I came to know through people on duty in jail.”
While pleading guilty on Monday, the 26/11 accused had said that he was confessing because Pakistan had accepted him as its citizen.
Kasab came up with more details of the plot today. He said, “We were told to fire indiscriminately at CST.”
“We were told to take people hostage on the upper floors of CST and were also told to fire at anyone who came to rescue the hostages,” he added.
Following Kasab’s confessions, the trial court was adjourned till Wednesday.
Source : IBNlive and NDTV
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — A series of five bombings killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens of others Monday in Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.
A roadside bomb hits a minibus Monday in Baghdad’s Sadr City, leaving a bloody scene with three dead.
At least four people were killed and 20 others were wounded Monday evening when a bomb detonated in a market on the northeastern outskirts of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said.
The bomb was attached to a motorcycle in the marketplace in the predominantly Shiite district of Hussainiya, the official said.
Earlier Monday, a suicide car bomb exploded outside the local council office in the Abu Ghraib district in the western outskirts of the Iraqi capital. At least seven people were killed and 13 others were wounded, an Interior Ministry official said.
The U.S. military said the bomb damaged a military vehicle that was providing security for the local council meeting. Four U.S soldiers were wounded, the military said.
Five people were killed and 20 wounded when a car bomb exploded on a commercial street in the Karrad district of central Baghdad about 8 a.m., a ministry official said.
Also, a roadside bomb struck a minibus carrying students, killing three of them. The blast, on the edge of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, also left 13 people wounded, including five students, the Interior Ministry official said.
Meanwhile, in Mosul, eight people were killed, including two policemen and two soldiers, in three incidents, according to an official with Iraq’s Interior Ministry.
In one incident, clashes erupted between Iraqi police and gunmen in central Mosul, leaving five people dead, including two policemen and two gunmen.
Gunmen also attacked a security checkpoint in Mosul with small arms fire, killing two Iraqi soldiers. And gunmen shot and killed a civilian as he stood outside his home in Mosul, according to the Interior Ministry official.
The wave of attacks came two days after the year’s deadliest attack when a suicide truck bombing killed about 80 people in the northern Iraqi town of Taza. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called Saturday’s attack a “heinous terrorist crime.”
Al-Maliki called the blast “an attempt to undermine the security and stability and spread a lack of confidence in the capabilities of Iraqi forces who are preparing to take over the security responsibility after U.S troops withdraw from the cities by the end of the month.”
Under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that went into effect at the beginning of this year, all U.S. combat troops must pull out of Iraqi cities, towns and localities into bases by the end of this month. There had been talk of combat troops remaining in some cities, including Mosul, but the U.S. military said that would be an Iraqi decision. The Iraqi government in May said all combat troops will leave urban areas by the June 30 deadline. All U.S. troops are to be out of Iraq by December 31, 2011, according to the security agreement.
He predicted attempts would be made to undermine Iraqi security forces as U.S. troops complete their withdrawal from cities and ahead of planned national elections.
At least 64 people have been killed by a suicide truck bomb near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraqi police say.
About 160 others were injured in the blast, which happened near a Shia mosque in Taza, officials said.
At least a dozen nearby mud-brick homes were flattened by the explosion, and the mosque also was badly damaged.
The latest attack comes days before US forces are due to withdraw from towns and cities in Iraq, leading to concerns that violence could escalate.
“This ugly crime is an attempt to harm security and stability and spread mistrust of the Iraqi forces,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said in a statement.
Just hours before the attack, he had promised the withdrawal would go ahead as promised, calling it a “great victory”.
“Don’t lose heart if a breach of security occurs here or there,” he said.
The bombing is one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq so far this year, says the BBC’s Jim Muir in Baghdad.
It happened as worshippers were leaving the packed Al-Rasoul mosque, run by the minority Turkmen community in the town of Taza, just to the south of Kirkuk, after midday prayers.
The force of the blast left a deep crater in the ground.
Victims were ferried to Kirkuk’s main Azadi Hospital, where there were chaotic scenes as bloodied casualties, including children, were rushed into wards.
Kirkuk, about 250km (155 miles) from Baghdad, was the scene of two suicide bombings last month, in which 14 people were killed.
The city is the centre of northern Iraq’s oil industry, and home to a volatile mix of Kurds, Arabs, Christians and members of the Turkmen community.
The US plans to withdraw its troops from Iraqi cities and major towns by 30 June, and is due to end combat operations across Iraq by September 2010, leaving Iraqi security forces to cope alone.
There are concerns that insurgents may try to take advantage of the withdrawal, although the country’s leaders say Iraqi forces are capable of handling internal security without US support.
A top American general says violent attacks by insurgents in Afghanistan have risen to their highest level since the Taliban were toppled in 2001.
Gen David Petraeus, who commands US forces in the region, said things had worsened over the past two years and reached a new high in the past week.
Speaking in Washington, Gen Petraeus warned of difficult times ahead.
He said this was partly because US forces were targeting what he called militant sanctuaries and safe havens.
There are currently more than 70,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, mostly under Nato command.
The Obama administration plans to send an additional 21,000 troops.
There were more than 400 insurgent attacks last week, compared with less than 50 per week in January 2004.
“Some of this will go up because we are going to go after their sanctuaries and safe havens as we must,” Gen Petraeus, who heads US Central Command, said in a speech at the Washington think-tank Center for a New American Security.
“But there is no question the situation has deteriorated over the course of the past two years in particular and there are difficult times ahead.”
Gen Petraeus said he was facing challenges in Afghanistan which had not featured during his time in Iraq and which included difficulties in relations with local people.
He stressed the need for “being good partners and good neighbours and having enormous concern, needless to say, about civilian casualties in everything we do”.
Correspondents say civilian casualties are causing growing public outrage throughout Afghanistan and friction between the US and Afghan governments.
A suicide bomb attack on a luxury hotel in the north-west Pakistani city of Peshawar, has killed 11 people and injured at least 52.
Reports say gunmen stormed the outer security barrier at the Pearl Continental Hotel before blowing up a vehicle in the car park.
One foreign citizen – a UN employee – was killed and several were injured.
A series of bombs have hit cities including Peshawar since a government crackdown on Taliban militants.
Jill McGivering, BBC News
The PC is a well-known landmark in Peshawar. Often used by foreigners but also by Pakistani officials and businessmen, it is known for good Western as well as local food and 5-star service. All factors which may have contributed to its becoming a target.
When I visited recently, there was a whole series of security checks. First of vehicles, as they drove in, past heavy concrete barriers. Then of people, screened by metal detectors and bag searches.
But suicide bombers and gunmen are hard to stop. There are clear echoes of the devastating assault on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad last September.
Security in Peshawar has worsened dramatically in the last year. Many of those who can afford to move have taken their families to Islamabad or beyond – abandoning a city now becoming consumed by fear and violence.
Peshawar, the main city in the country’s north-west, is not far from the Swat valley, where the government offensive has been concentrated.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani swiftly condemned the attack but the blast hardly comes as a surprise, says the BBC’s Chris Morris, in Islamabad.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday night’s attack on what is the most prominent hotel in Peshawar, our correspondent says most people will assume it to be the work of the Taliban.
A symbol of Peshawar’s contact with the rest of the world, a place where government officials and foreign dignitaries are accustomed to staying, has been attacked, he adds.
The attack killed a Serbian UN refugee agency worker and the injured include a British man and a German national, Peshawar district coordination officer Sahibzada Anis said.
At least a dozen UN employees were staying at the hotel at the time of the explosion.
‘Shouting and running’
Eyewitnesses told the BBC News website the blast could be seen up to 5km (3 miles) away. The blast left a large crater and parts of the hotel were destroyed.
I saw the red light from there blowing and then I heard a huge sound
BBC News website reader in Peshawar
Three men riding in a truck approached the main gate of the hotel and opened fire at security guards before driving inside, police official Liaqat Ali told AP, quoting witness accounts.
“They drove the vehicle inside the hotel gates and blew it up on reaching close to the hotel building,” he added. Ali Khan, a hotel waiter, said he had been working when the attack happened.
“I was in the Chinese restaurant when we heard firing and then a blast,” he told Reuters news agency. “It was totally dark and people started shouting and running.”
An injured man, Jawad Chaudhry, said he had been in his room on the ground floor when he heard gunshots, then a big bang.
“The floor under my feet shook,” he said. “I thought the roof was falling on me. I ran out. I saw everybody running in panic. There was blood and pieces of glass everywhere.”
Musa Khan, a BBC News website reader in Peshawar, said he was far away when the blast happened but could tell it was “huge”.
“I was in the university lawn with my friends,” he said. “I saw the red light from there blowing and then I heard a huge sound.”
Another Peshawar reader, Imran, said window panes 5km away had been shattered while a third, Samee Uddin, reported gunshots and then a “huge cloud of smoke [which] could be seen from more than 3km away”.
The Pearl Continental, usually just called the PC, is a well-known landmark in Peshawar, often used by foreigners, Pakistani officials and businessmen.
Correspondents say it runs a series of security checks, first of vehicles as they drive in past heavy concrete barriers, then of people who are screened by metal detectors and bag searches.
Government forces launched an offensive earlier this year to crush a Taliban-led uprising in the Swat valley aimed at enforcing Sharia law.
Taliban leaders have promised to launch revenge attacks on major Pakistani cities and claimed a bombing in Lahore last month which left at least 28 people dead.
A devastating suicide bomb attack on the Islamabad Marriott hotel last September killed at least 53 people and injured more than 266.
Fidayeen-e-Islam, a little-known Pakistani militant group, told the BBC it had carried out the attack with the aim of stopping US interference in Pakistan.
A Pakistani army spokesman says it could take another week to 10 days to remove the Taliban from Mingora, the main city in the Swat valley.
Maj Gen Athar Abbas told the BBC that troops were engaged in street battles and clearing the city house by house.
He said the army now controlled a corridor from a suburb to the city centre and had captured three of Mingora’s five main crossroads.
The fighting began after a peace deal broke down earlier this month.
Hundreds have died and more than a million have fled Swat since the operation against the Taliban was launched.
Although the army has troops based inside Mingora, the Taliban has effectively been in control of the city.
Maj Gen Abbas said that in the current operation, which began on Saturday, advancing troops had linked up with government forces inside the city.
He said that five militants had been killed and 14 arrested in Mingora on Sunday.
He added that soldiers were having to search buildings one at a time.
He also said that the operation could be “painfully slow”, as up to 20,000 civilians were still trapped there and the army wanted to avoid civilian casualties.
“Hopefully it will not be more than a week or ten days,” he said.
“We have to clear each and every house, we have to search the streets, all those buildings which are not occupied we have to ensure that no explosives or booby-traps are there. It will take some time.”
Journalists are not allowed near the city so it is not possible to verify the army’s claims.
But the success of Pakistan’s military operation in the region hinges on a swift victory in Mingora, says the BBC’s Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad.
This fresh assault on the Taliban has the full backing of the US, which has identified Pakistan and Afghanistan as central to the international battle against Islamist extremism.
Scene of beheadings
Although the military has always had bases in Mingora, the city has effectively been under Taliban control in recent weeks.
One of the intersections the army says it has regained control over is Green Square where the Taliban is thought to have carried out several beheadings.
A citizen in Mingora confirmed this, but told the BBC that fighting was continuing in four nearby villages: Takhtaband, Garozai, Nawakalay and Shahdara.
There was no comment from the Taliban on the latest fighting in Mingora.
The army also said it had made progress in other parts of the Swat valley, with the city of Matta reportedly cleared of militants.
A curfew remains in place in Matta, and there are already reports of many civilian casualties, but these cannot be independently confirmed.
Our correspondent says the Swat battle is the most important yet in the army’s offensive against the Taliban in north-west Pakistan.
A swift victory would bolster public support for a greater fight against the militants, our correspondent adds.
But anything other than complete victory could diminish public support for the campaign and prove disastrous for Pakistan’s fragile political coalition, he adds .
Nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced by this month’s fighting in the north-western region, and about two million since last August, the UN’s refugee agency says.
In separate developments over the weekend:
Pakistan’s army began an offensive against the Taliban on 2 May after the peace deal broke down and the militants began expanding their area of influence.
In Swat, the army says that about 15,000 members of the security forces are fighting between 4,000 and 5,000 militants.
It says more than 1,000 militants and more than 50 soldiers have been killed since the offensive began.
Four men have been arrested over alleged plots to attack targets in New York, US prosecutors say.
They planned to blow up a synagogue and use Stinger missiles to bring down military planes at an airport north of the city, a statement said.
The men were arrested after agreeing to buy missiles and explosives in an undercover operation.
New York has been on alert for a new terror assault since the 9/11 attack claimed by al-Qaeda militants.
Officials summarised the main charge against the four men as a conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States.
They are to appear in court on Thursday in White Plains, and face from 25 years to life imprisonment if found guilty.
They were named as James Cromitie (also known as Abdul Rahman), David Williams (aka Daoud and DL), Onta Williams (aka Hamza) and Laguerre Payen (aka Amin and Almondo). All were reportedly born in the US and Muslims.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that the alleged plot showed “homeland security threats against New York City [were] sadly all too real”.
‘Car bomb plot’
“The defendants wanted to engage in terrorist attacks,” said Lev Dassin, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“They selected targets and sought the weapons necessary to carry out their plans.”
According to prosecutors, the men planned to detonate a car packed with plastic explosives outside the Riverdale synagogue, in the Bronx district of the city.
They also intended to target military planes at the New York Air National Guard base at Stewart Airport, 60 miles (85 km) north of New York City.
“They would travel,” FBI official Joseph Demarest told reporters.
“They had bags that were set up that they believed to be bombs, carrying about 30 pounds of explosives which they believed to be explosives…
“They would place a satchel or a bag in front of a vehicle in front of the temple down the block and then two more bags into a vehicle parked in front of the synagogue here.”
The arrests were the result of a year-long investigation, officials said.
‘Afghan war anger’
According to prosecutors, Mr Cromitie – whose parents are from Afghanistan – told an FBI informant in June 2008 that he was angry over the US-led war in Afghanistan.
He “expressed an interest in ‘doing something to America”‘.
From October 2008, the informant began meeting him regularly along with the four others at a house in which the FBI had concealed video and audio equipment.
The group allegedly “expressed desire” to attack targets in New York and Mr Cromitie “asked the informant to supply surface-to-air guided missiles and explosives”, prosecutors say.
In April 2009, the group agreed on the synagogue they intended to attack and proceeded to conduct surveillance, including taking photographs of the warplanes at the military base, prosecutors say.
Mr Cromitie allegedly pointed out Jews in the street, saying “if he had a gun, he would shoot each one in the head”, according to the district attorney’s statement.
According to the statement, he told the informant that attacking the Jewish community centre would be a “piece of cake”.
He also said he would be interested in joining Jaish-e-Mohammed – a Pakistan-based group considered a terrorist organisation by Washington – “to do jihad”.
New York Republican representative Peter King told CNN that the day of the arrests was the day the suspects had planned to carry out the synagogue attack.
He also said the four men were all Muslim – one a born Muslim of Afghan descent, the others having converted in prison.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A terror suspect detained at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be transported to the United States for trial in a civilian court, two Obama administration officials said.
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is shown in a photo posted by the FBI in 2004.
Ahmed Ghailani, suspected of taking part in al Qaeda plots to bomb U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania among other crimes, would be the first former detainee at the detention center to face trial in the United States.
The officials, who did not want to be named because the plan has not been officially announced, said Ghailani will be tried in New York, where trials for international incidents, including previous embassy bombing cases, often are held.
The officials did not say when Ghailani would be transported.
Ghailani has been indicted in New York several times for crimes including the embassy attacks. He was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and transported to Guantanamo in 2006.
In the 1998 bombings, 224 people were killed, including 12 Americans.
The announcement is expected to be made Thursday, the same day President Obama will give a public address on the detention center and other security issues.
The news came on a day that tension mounted between Congress and the Obama administration over the planned closing of Guantanamo.
The U.S. Senate passed a measure Wednesday that would prevent detainees at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to the United States for now.
The measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 90-6 vote. A similar amendment has already passed the House. It was attached to a supplemental war funding bill.
Following in the steps of House Democrats, Senate Democrats rejected on Tuesday the administration’s request for $80 million to close the Guantanamo facility. They instead asked that President Obama first submit a plan spelling out what the administration will do with the prisoners when it closes the prison.
The US Supreme Court says FBI Director Robert Mueller and ex-Attorney General John Aschcroft cannot be sued by a former 9/11 detainee for alleged abuse.
The justices on Monday reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed a lawsuit brought by Javaid Iqbal to go forward.
Mr Iqbal, from Pakistan, argued the two officials were responsible for a policy that saw him singled out for abuse on the basis of his religion and race.
The court ruled that his complaint failed to back up this claim.
Mr Iqbal spent some six months in solitary confinement in a federal prison in Brooklyn in 2002.
In his lawsuit, he said he had suffered physical and verbal abuse and had been singled out for mistreatment because of ethnic and religious discrimination.
The government argued that there was nothing to link Mr Mueller and Mr Ashcroft to the alleged abuse of Mr Iqbal.
In a ruling by five votes to four, the Supreme Court justices overturned a ruling by a New York appeals court that had allowed Mr Iqbal’s lawsuit to proceed.
“The complaint does not show or even intimate that petitioners purposefully housed detainees” in prison “due to their race, religion or national origin,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the court’s majority opinion.
“All it plausibly suggests is that the nation’s top law enforcement officers, in the aftermath of a devastating attack, sought to keep suspected terrorists in the most secure conditions available until the suspects could be cleared of terrorist activity.”
The court ruled that Mr Iqbal may be able to bring a case against others officials if “unconstitutional misconduct” could be proved.
Mr Iqbal was arrested in November 2001 on charges unrelated to terrorism. His lawsuit alleged that two months later he was moved to a prison in New York where he was held for more than 150 days in solitary confinement, the Associated Press reports.
He was cleared of any links to terrorism and deported to Pakistan in January 2003 after pleading guilty to fraud, according to AP.
Monday’s ruling appeared to be narrow, limited to the facts of this particular case, although it could be cited as precedent in other lawsuits, Reuters reports.
Dozens of Muslim men were arrested in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks, and the justice department’s inspector general found that many of those held at the Brooklyn detention centre suffered abuse.
In 2006, the US government agreed to pay $300,000 (£195,000) to settle with Mr Iqbal’s co-plaintiff, Egyptian Ehab Elmaghraby.