Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two in Chicago Accused in Danish Newspaper Plot and Mumbai Attacks


Two accused of Danish newspaper plot investigated for ties to Mumbai attacks

Indian officials cite possible connection to last year's deadly assaults

By Jeff Coen and Hal Dardick
Tribune reporters
November 24, 2009

Authorities in Chicago are looking into allegations that two local men
accused of plotting an assault on a Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may be linked to other plots, including a terrorist assault in Mumbai last year that left more than 170 dead, sources said.

David Coleman Headley, who has cooperated with authorities, is being investigated as a scout for the Mumbai attack, which targeted multiple sites, including two hotels, a train station, a cafe and a Jewish community center.

A source familiar with the probe said Headley's co-defendant in the
newspaper case, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, is suspected to have paid for Headley's India missions.

Neither man has been charged in connection with the Mumbai planning, though officials in India were outspoken last week about their possible connection to the attacks. The militant Pakistani group
Lashkar-e-Taiba, linked to Rana and Headley in court documents here, has been blamed for the Mumbai attacks.

The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has declined to say whether
charges against the men here could be upgraded to account for their
suspected roles in the Mumbai operation. U.S. citizens lost their
lives in the coordinated attacks.

So far, Headley, a Pakistani American, is charged with conspiring to
commit a terror act outside the U.S., and Rana, a Pakistani native
with Canadian citizenship, has been charged with providing material
support to terrorism. Those charges relate only to the plan in
Denmark, where Headley is alleged to have staked out the Copenhagen offices of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Prosecutors here also have said Rana discussed other targets with Headley.

Both men are to appear in court in Chicago next week, Rana on Dec. 2 and Headley on Dec. 4. Both remain in custody. Rana's lawyer, Patrick Blegen, has denied the allegations. Headley's attorney, John Theis, declined to comment Monday.



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