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Suspect in Mumbai Attacks Posed as a Jew

Six were killed in local Chabad House

by
Hadara Graubart
November 17, 2009
A remembrance service held today at the Mumbai Chabad House.(Pal Pillai/AFP/Getty Images)

A remembrance service held today at the Mumbai Chabad House.(Pal Pillai/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s been a year since the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 170 people, including six occupants of the local Chabad House, and there has been some progress toward prosecuting one of the alleged perpetrators. David Coleman Headley, a 49-year-old Pakistani immigrant to the United States, was arrested last month in Chicago en route to Pakistan and charged with involvement in a plot to attack Denmark after the Muhammad cartoon fiasco. The FBI quickly determined that he was also likely a suspect in the Mumbai attacks. Indian authorities have linked Headley—who was head of an immigration law firm in Mumbai from 2006 to 2009—to Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba and determined that he cased all 10 locations targeted by the terrorists last November. They plan to push the United States for Headley’s extradition in January.

According to an Indian National Investigation Agency report, Headley gained entrance to the Chabad center by posing as a Jew, and the FBI discovered a copy of a book called To Pray as a Jew among his belongings. A rabbi in India, who gave a tour of the wreckage to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week, is still baffled by the tragedy: “It was bizarre that the terrorists should come and make this one of their key hunting grounds.… It didn’t have any meaning in any nationalistic sense, in any political sense.”

Hadara Graubart was formerly a writer and editor for Tablet Magazine.

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