The assault team members were told they were expected to die in the attack on Mumbai — rather than escape as earlier planned. The LeT chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed told the 10-member assault team: your "bloodstains would be rose petals"
Lashkar-e-Taiba supreme commander Hafiz Muhammad Saeed told the 10-member assault team, which attacked Mumbai in November 2008, that “being shot would feel like a pinprick, bloodstains would be like rose petals, and that angels would come down to take their souls.”
Saeed's exhortation, revealed in documents filed by prosecutors in the ongoing trial of Chicago-based terror suspect Tahawwur Rana, was made after the assault team members were told they were expected to die in the attack on Mumbai — rather than escape as earlier planned.
Details contained in the prosecution's proffer of evidence — a legal document that contains a summary of the arguments it intends to present — offer substantial new information on the 26/11 Mumbai plot.
Sajid Mir, the Lashkar's commander of transnational operations, had overall control of the tactical planning of the operation, and issued directions to the attackers using Internet and satellite phone links.
Mir, the proffer records, was instrumental in the decision that the assault team would fight until its members were killed, and personally ordered the execution of two hostages held at Mumbai's Chabad House.
Muzammil Bhat, a long-standing veteran of the Lashkar's operations in Jammu and Kashmir, was responsible for training the assault teams to the high standards needed to execute Mir's plans.
Rana, the proffer states, told co-accused Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, in a September 2009 conversation, that the nine Lashkar operatives, who died in the attack, deserved the Nishan-e-Haider — Pakistan's highest military honour. Headley and Rana also discussed plans for future operations during the conversation, which was being secretly recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Even though the trial in Chicago centres around Rana, the proffer makes clear that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate played a key role in the attack and monitored each stage of the operation. It provided professional intelligence-tradecraft training and funds, and appears to have played a key role in target selection.
Plan to attack BARC
In April 2008, for example, Headley was ordered to conduct reconnaissance around the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) by his ISI handler, who he knew as Major Iqbal. Major Iqbal asked him to explore the viability of an assault on staff housing around the complex.
But later that month, Headley told the NIA in a separate interview, Rana informed him of a bilateral agreement binding both India and Pakistan not to use force against each other's nuclear installations — a discussion that suggests the ISI may have decided an attack on the BARC would invite retaliation.