Saturday, May 30, 2009

Omani businessman financed LeT terrorists, planned terror bombings in Oman

This has been around a while, and commented here a couple of days ago, but better to get it out in an official post.

The Hindu newspaper has a couple of articles on the financing of terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba aka LeT, by an Omani businessman, Ali Abdul Aziz al-Hooti. Mr Al Hooti was apparently sentenced to life imprisionment here in Oman last month for his role in plotting terrorist attacks in Oman, supposedly targeting The Golden Tulip, Nizwa Spa, and the BBC (??).

Photo: Omani Businessman linked to Mumbai attacks

I didn't hear of anything in the local papers, at least not in English.

I don't believe the BBC thing either, as I don't think there is a BBC office in Oman. Perhaps they meant the British Council offices in MQ?

Good on Omani authorities and the guys and gals in Internal Security for getting this under control. However, there are rumours that there were more people arrested in connection with the investigation and that they are still being held without charge.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a definite increase in terrorist activities across the GCC of late - perhaps connected to the releases from Guantanamo. There was the abortive car bomb in Bahrain a few weeks ago when the thing detonated prematurely, the re-emergence of successionists and Al Qaida activities in Yemen, and reports on the arrest of two Bahrainis linked to Al Qaida.

The 2 extracts from The Hindu Times, FYI, are below. Not clear who the 'Omani Authorites' quoted actually are.

What annoys me somewhat is that even Bahrain publishes news about these things. Why do we have to rely on foreign newspapers to get important, basic, public information on Oman - like people convicted of terrorism in the courts????

Two Bahrainis to be tried for planning terror acts
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Published: May 27, 2009, 18:10

Manama: The two Bahrainis arrested late last month over suspicions of planning terror acts in Bahrain were charged on Wednesday with contacting a terrorist organization to target foreign interests in Bahrain. The authorities did not name the organization, but it is thought to be Al Qaeda.

"The two suspects will be tried on June 30 for their contacts with a terrorist organisation abroad in order to perpetrate antagonistic attacks on foreign interests in Bahrain. They will also be tried for smuggling arms and
ammunitions to use during the attacks," the public prosecutor said.

"The prosecution has completed its investigation of the terrorist cell and the charges against the suspects have been confirmed," the statement said.

The two defendants will remain in custody until their trial next month.

The Hindu Times articles.

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Investigators have determined that a top Oman-based jihad financier was in Mumbai days before the November terror attacks, raising the possibility that elements of the operation might have been paid for by Lashkar-e-Taiba supporters in West Asia.

Muscat businessman Ali Abdul Aziz al-Hooti, who was sentenced to life by an Oman court last month for his role in plotting the bombing of offices, hotels and a spa, visited Mumbai between November 10 and 17, sources in the Maharashtra police told The Hindu. In his visa application, al-Hooti claimed that he wanted to visit relatives in the town of Miraj. Al-Hooti’s mother, the sources said, was of Maharashtra origin.

How Lashkar funded transnational terror campaign:
Oman millionaire, Kerala computer engineer, Pakistani jihadists facilitated attacks from Muscat to Mumbai and Bangalore

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Back in 2006, the lives of a millionaire Omani businessman and a struggling computer technician from Kerala intersected with the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s battle-hardened jihadists. Even now, six months after the arrest of Ernakulam-born Sarfaraz Nawaz and Muscat entrepreneur Ali Abdul Aziz al-Hooti, investigators in India and Oman are struggling to understand the complex networks that emerged: networks that they are discovering bound together Indian Mujahideen attacks in southern India with the Lashkar’s assault on Mumbai and a series of planned bombings in West Asia.

Nawaz’s jihadist engagement began when he was just 18 years old. He joined the Students Islamic Movement of India in 1995, and was elected to its central committee five years later. His contemporaries included many who later played key roles in building the Indian jihadist movement among them, Safdar Nagori, Peedical Abdul Shibly and Yahya Kamakutty.

Like the overwhelming majority of SIMI members, though, Nawaz chose a life of middle-class respectability. He obtained a computer networking qualification from an institute in Kochi, married and, with the help of relatives, found a job in Oman.

During a visit home in 2006, however, Nawaz heard a sermon that dragged him back into the world he had escaped from. Tadiyantavide Nasir known to his followers as Haji Umar delivered a speech casting jihad as a central imperative of Islam.

Inspired by the speech, Oman authorities have since discovered, Nawaz set about making contacts with jihadists in Muscat. Friends at a local mosque put him in touch with al-Hooti, a successful automobile components dealer, who also owned a string of Internet caf├ęs.

Born to an Indian mother, al-Hooti’s radicalisation had been driven by stories of atrocities against Muslims he heard on visits home to Maharashtra. Before he turned 30, al-Hooti had had twice trained at Lashkar camps in Pakistan and emerged as the organisation’s key point-man in Oman.

Working with Lashkar intelligence operative Mohammad Jassem, also known by the alias Tehsin, al-Hooti used his businesses as camouflage for an elaborate operation that funnelled funds to jihadists in India and volunteers into Pakistan for training.

Ali Asshama, a Maldivian national who along with Bangladesh-based Lashkar commander Faisal Haroun helped set up the Lashkar’s Indian Ocean networks, was among al-Hooti’s wards. Haroun and Assham are thought to have crafted the 2006 landing of assault rifles intended to have been used in a terror attack in Gujarat, as well as an abortive 2007 effort to land eight Lashkar fidayeen off Mumbai.

Early in 2007, al-Hooti and Jassem also arranged to ship Mumbai resident Fahim Arshad Ansari from Dubai to a Lashkar camp in Pakistan through Oman and Iran. Ansari is now being tried on charges of having generated the videotape of Mumbai’s streets which was used to train the Lashkar assault team that carried out the November massacre.

Multiple targets

By 2007, Oman authorities say, the pro-western Emirate itself had begun to figure on al-Hooti’s list of targets.

In June that year, al-Hooti held discussions with Lashkar sympathisers in Oman on the prospect of targeting prominent landmarks in Muscat, among them a British Broadcasting Corporation office, the Golden Tulip Hotel, and a spa in the upmarket Nizwa area. No final operational plans were made, but Oman authorities found enough evidence to sentence al-Hooti to life last month.
Meanwhile, Nasir made contact with Nawaz, asking for money to fund a series of bombings in southern India. Nasir also needed cash to send volunteers from Kerala to train with the Lashkar.

Nawaz turned to the Lashkar for logistical help. Between March and May, 2008, the Karnataka police believe, al-Hooti transferred an estimated $2,500 for Nasir’s use to a Kannur-based hawala dealer. Lashkar commander Rehan, one of al-Hooti’s associates, arranged for Nasir’s recruits to train with a jihadist unit operating near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

From July, though, the plan began to slowly unravel. First, the bombs planted in Bangalore failed to work properly. Then, in October, five of Nasir’s volunteers were caught in an Indian Army ambush. Four were killed; the fifth man, Purathur resident Abdul Jabbar, was arrested. Even as the Andhra Pradesh police closed in on Nasir, al-Hooti and Rehan helped arrange his escape with the help of the Lashkar’s top resident agent in Bangladesh, Mubashir Shahid.

Lashkar International

West Asia-based jihadists have long played a role in financing the Lashkar’s operations against India, while the Pakistan-based group, in turn, has been seeking a role in the region.

Saudi Arabia-based Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmad Bahaziq, for example, has been indicted by the United Nations Security Council as a key financier of the Lashkar’s infrastructure in Pakistan. Bahaziq, who like al-Hooti, was born to an Indian mother is believed to have been arrested by Saudi Arabia in 2006. There has been no public word, however, on the status of his trial.

Back in 2004, British troops in Iraq detained top Lashkar commander Danish Ahmad who, using the name Abdul Rehman al-Dakhil, had for many years trained cadre for covert operations against India. Since Danish’s arrest, which was first reported in The Hindu, Lashkar operatives have been involved in operations in Australia, the United States of America and even the Maldives.


  1. That is huge Bro. I will write about it in my Arabic blog.

  2. Bahrain is ranked 96/173 for press freedom. Oman is 126/173.

    It's not that surprising - The authorities have the attitude that what people don't know, won't hurt them.

    Everybody's smiling in the sultanate & nothing bad ever keep smiling.

  3. I cannot believe Omani can do this! I cannot believe. Omani is peaceful friends of India. Why they do this to us? Why Omani friend, why?


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