For the 69 page full dossier on the terror attacks click here
Taj Mahal Hotel
Conversations as published by the Indian newspaper, The Hindu. All on 27 November 2008
Pakistan caller: How many hostages do you have?
Mumbai terrorist: We have one from Belgium. We have killed him. There was one chap from Bangalore. He could be controlled only with a lot of effort.
Pakistan caller: I hope there is no Muslim amongst them?
Mumbai terrorist: No, none.
Pakistan caller: Are you setting the fire or not?
Mumbai terrorist: Not yet. I am getting a mattress ready for burning.
Pakistan caller: What did you do with the dead body [on the boat]?
Mumbai terrorist: Left it behind.
Pakistan caller: Did you not open the locks for the water below? [Thought to be a pre-arranged plan to sink the vessel.]
Mumbai terrorist: No, they did not open the locks. We left it like that because of being in a hurry. We made a big mistake.
Pakistan caller: What big mistake?
Mumbai terrorist: When we were getting into the boat, the waves were quite high. Another boat came. Everyone raised an alarm that the Navy had come. Everyone jumped quickly. In this confusion, the satellite phone of Ismail got left behind.
n 0137 hours
Pakistan caller: The ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) chief has been killed. Your work is very important. Allah is helping you. The Vazir (Minister) should not escape. Try to set the place on fire.
Mumbai terrorist: We have set fire in four rooms.
Pakistan caller: People shall run helter skelter when they see the flames. Keep throwing a grenade every 15 minutes or so. It will terrorise.
Mumbai terrorist: Greetings!
Pakistan caller: Greetings! There are three ministers and one secretary of the cabinet in your hotel. We don’t know in which room.
Mumbai terrorist: Oh! That is good news! It is the icing on the cake.
Pakistan caller: Find those three, four persons and then get whatever you want from India.
Mumbai terrorist: Pray that we find them.
Pakistan caller: Do one thing. Throw one or two grenades on the Navy and police teams, which are outside.
Mumbai terrorist: Sorry. I simply can’t make out where they are.
Oberoi Trident Hotel
Pakistan caller 1: Brother Abdul. The media is comparing your action to 9/11. One senior police official has been killed.
Mumbai terrorist 1: We are on the 10th/11th floor. We have five hostages.
Pakistan caller 2: Everything is being recorded by the media. Inflict the maximum damage. Keep fighting. Don’t be taken alive.
Pakistan caller 1: Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.
Mumbai terrorist 2: We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China.
Pakistan caller 1: Kill them.
(Voices of gunmen can be hearddirecting hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)
Mumbai terrorist: Greetings! What did the major-general say?
Pakistan caller: Greetings. The major-general directed us to do what we like. We should not worry. The operation has to be concluded tomorrow morning. Pray to God. Keep two magazines and three grenades aside, and expend the rest of your ammunition.
Pakistan caller: Keep in mind that the hostages are of use only as long as you do not come under fire because of their safety. If you are still threatened, then don’t saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them.
Mumbai terrorist: Yes, we shall do accordingly, God willing.
Pakistan caller: The army claims to have done the work without any hostage being harmed. Another thing: Israel has made a request through diplomatic channels to save the hostages. If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel.
Mumbai terrorist: So be it, God willing.
Pakistan caller: Stay alert.
Pakistan caller: Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam. Fight so that your fight becomes a shining example. Be strong in the name of Allah. You may feel tired or sleepy but the Commandos of Islam have left everything behind. Their mothers, their fathers, their homes. Brother, you have to fight for the victory of Islam. Be strong.
Mumbai terrorist: Amen!
Transcript: Mumbai gunmen were commanded by phone
By SAM DOLNICK –
NEW DELHI (AP) — The gunman said into the phone, “We have three foreigners, including women.” The response was plain and brutal: “Kill them,” the man said. Gunshots rang out inside the Mumbai hotel, followed by a round of cheering.
The ruthless exchange comes from a transcript of phone calls intercepted during the Mumbai attacks that was part of a dossier of evidence India handed Pakistan this week.
New Delhi says the evidence, which also included photographs of recovered weapons, data gleaned from satellite phones, and details from the interrogation of the lone surviving gunman, proves that the Mumbai siege was launched from across the border.
Pakistani authorities have dismissed the evidence as “a propaganda offensive” designed “to whip up tensions” in the region.
The transcripts, which were obtained by the newspaper The Hindu, show that the 10 gunmen who carried out the attacks were in close contact with their handlers throughout the siege. India says the handlers directing the attacks that left 164 dead were senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group.
“There are three ministers and one secretary of the cabinet in your hotel. We don’t know in which room,” the handler told a gunman inside the Taj Mahal hotel at 3:10 a.m. on the first night of the attack.
“Oh! That is good news. It is the icing on the cake!” he said.
The handler told him to find the government officials “and then get whatever you want from India.”
The handlers in Pakistan told another team of gunmen who had seized a Jewish center to shoot the hostages if necessary.
“If you are still threatened, then don’t saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them,” he said.
He then added, “If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel.”
“So be it, God willing,” the gunman replied.
Six Jewish foreigners, including a rabbi and his wife, were killed inside the Jewish center.
Later in the night, nearly 24 hours after the attacks began, the handlers urged the gunmen to “be strong in the name of Allah”
“Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam. You may feel tired or sleepy, but the commandos of Islam have left everything behind, their mothers, their fathers.”
The gunmen were told several times not to kill any Muslim hostages.
They were ordered, “Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.”
Excerpts from Times of India report
The conversations are chilling and show that the attackers were intent on causing maximum damage, did not want to take any hostages and were brutal in the extreme.
Here’s a sample of a chat between the Pakistani handlers and the terrorists at Taj Hotel:
Caller (from Pakistan): “There are three ministers and a secretary of cabinet in your hotel, we don’t know which room. Keep looking.”
Receiver (terrorist in Mumbai): “That’s icing on the cake.”
Caller: “Find these three or four persons then get whatever you want from India.”
Later, the caller is also heard telling the terrorist that the “wazir” (minister) should not get away. The minister, if there was one in the hotel, did.
At one point, the caller rang again. “Throw one or two grenades on the Navy and police teams. They are outside.”
But the terrorist at the Taj was confused. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I can’t make out where they are.”
The Pakistani handlers obviously couldn’t get enough of the action in Mumbai and were glued to TV, whose blow-by-blow coverage actually helped the terrorists.
‘Under fire, don’t saddle yourself with hostages, kill them’
During a conversation at the Oberoi, the handler told the terrorist, “Keep your cell phone on. We want to hear the gunfire.” Then again, “Everything being recorded by media. Inflict maximum damage. Keep fighting. Don’t be taken alive,” instructed the handler.
During another conversation, he says, “Brother Abdul, the media is comparing your action to 9/11. One of the senior police commissioners has been killed.” Abdul Rehman clearly had other problems in his mind. “We’re on the 10th-11th floor. We’ve five hostages.”
The caller was clear. “Kill all hostages, except Muslims.”
The terrorists had to take permission. “We’ve three foreigners, including two women from Singapore and China.” The answer was brutal. “Kill them.”
Even the terrorists had their troubles, particularly from a certain man from Bangalore who put up a huge fight. “He could be controlled with a big effort.” In all the killing, the handlers tried to make sure no Muslims were killed, but even as the terrorists tried their best, they inflicted huge damage on Indian Muslims killing many at CST and Cama Hospital.
But even the Pakistani handlers were taking orders from a certain “major-general” who is not identified and could be a senior LeT leader. During a conversation in Nariman House, the terrorists asked their handlers for instructions from the “major-general”.
“The major general directed us to do what we like. We shouldn’t worry.” Two factors unexpectedly helped India during the attacks. One was a serendipitous discovery by Indian officials and second was a costly mistake by the terrorists themselves.
Indian officials had been monitoring certain SIM cards that they believed had fallen into terrorist hands in what they thought was an unrelated case. But during the attacks, some of these came alive, which helped them trace the conversations on a real-time basis.
The terrorists’ mistake will cost Pakistan dear. During one conversation, the handlers checked with the “boys” whether they had set fire to the boat or not. The young man replied he had not.
The boss asked, “What did you do to the dead body?” (this would have been the boat owner Solanki.)
The terrorist replied they had left it behind. They had to leave the boat in a big hurry and “we made a mistake.”
“What mistake?” said his handler, ominously. It turned out that neither did they open the bottom locks of the boat which would have sunk it in the sea, nor did they toss the dead body or set the boat on fire.
“When we were getting into the boat the waves were quite high. Another boat came. Everybody raised an alarm that the Navy had come. Everybody jumped quickly. In this confusion, the satellite phone of Ismail got left behind.”
That has turned out to be crucial evidence.
The SIM cards were also important to the investigation. The calls were routed through several SIM cards, one a virtual number in the US, from a company called Cellphone X, owned by one Kharak Singh. The others were from Austria.
It appeared many things were on the planners’ minds. Certainly the India-Israel relationship was high on their calculations. At one stage, the handlers said, “Keep in mind the hostages are of use only if you don’t come under fire. If you are under attack don’t saddle yourself with the hostages. Immediately kill them.”
The handler also reminded the terrorists that “the Army claims to have done their work without any hostage being harmed”.
Another thing: “Israel has made a request to save the hostages. If the hostages are killed it will spoil relations between India and Israel.”