Rome, February 25: Militants behind last year’s attacks on Mumbai used cell phones that were activated in the United States and paid for with funds sent from Italy, an Italian newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Corriere della Sera daily said India sent the intelligence information to Italy and other countries so anti-terrorism investigators could attempt to expose any ties to the network behind the November assault that killed at least 179 people.
Islamabad acknowledged for the first time this month that the November assault was launched from, and partly planned in, Pakistan.
Corriere said Italian authorities were investigating a wire transfer sent to the United States from the northern Italian city of Brescia by a Pakistani-born suspect.
The suspect, named as Javaid Iqbal, sent the funds via Western Union to pay for five cell phones with Austrian country codes — three of which were used by the attackers, Corriere said, citing the Indian dossier.
Iqbal, a former resident of Barcelona, has been arrested in Pakistan and Italian authorities were attempting to understand how he arrived in Brescia and whether he had support from anyone there.
The cell phones were activated in the United States by a US company, Corriere reported, and registered to another man, who identified himself as an Indian citizen.
India, in its intelligence dossier, highlighted the importance of cell phone communication between the plotters and militants carrying out the attacks.
It offered partial transcripts of the conversations detailing orders given by phone to kill hostages, and how the plotters relayed the media impact of the assault in real-time.
“Everything is being registered by the media. You must inflict the maximum damage. Fight to the end. Don’t leave any survivors,” read one of the excerpts, in a call to an attacker at the Trident-Oberoi hotel, reported by Corriere.
At one point, one of the attackers explains he has five hostages, two of them Muslims.
“Kill the hostages, except the Muslims. Take the telephone and activate it so we can hear the shots,” an attacker says, according to Corriere.
Indian police said that, apparently through the telephone intercepts, they could hear the non-Muslim hostages being lined up and then shot.