A planned attack orchestrated by Pakistan's intelligence service against the U.S. Consulate in the southern Indian city of Chennai was thwarted by Indian security offices, The Times of India reported.
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency purportedly recruited a Sri Lankan Muslim to reconnoiter the American Consulate, as well as the Israeli Consulate in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, in preparation for terrorist attacks, the newspaper said. Chennai is a commercial and cultural center.
The Sri Lankan, Sakir Hussain, was arrested by Indian authorities April 29 in Chennai. He reportedly told interrogators that his handler was Amir Zubair Siddiq, an official in Pakistan's Colombo delegation on the island country of Sri Lanka, off India's southern coast.
The ISI had been planning to dispatch two operatives from another island nation, Maldives, who were to use travel documents and safe houses arranged by Hussain. He reportedly confessed after what the Times described as "sustained interrogation." Hussain also admitted to having engaged in human trafficking, forging passports, and passing counterfeit Indian currency, the Times reported.
He allegedly emailed photographs and diagrams of the U.S. and Israeli consulates to the Pakistanis in Colombo, according to the Times.
Indian authorities believe Pakistan uses Muslim citizens from third countries — as well as from India itself — for terror operations so that it can plausibly deny involvement.
Islamabad's spy service is also suspected
of being involved in shielding Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan denies that it supports or orchestrates terrorism. Muhammad Daud Ehtisham, a press spokesman for Pakistan in Sri Lanka, called the latest Indian report part of a "malicious media campaign," the Times of India reported.
Meanwhile, officials say last week's twin explosions
aboard a train in Chennai by Islamic terrorists could be a precursor of a bigger terrorist onslaught. Indian officials are concerned that Pakistan may be planning to intensify cross-border terrorism as India's extended national elections wind down on May 12, The Times of India
reported in a separate story. A Hindu nationalist, Narendra Modi, looks set to become premier.
Thirty-one Muslims were killed apparently by Hindu militants in the Indian state of Assam over the weekend, Reuters reported.
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