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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Bhatkal’s grilling reveals IM is way ahead of security agencies in tech use

Encryption of messages,use of GPRS phones are among the methods used by Yasin and company.

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore |
September 16, 2013 3:27:14 am

Investigations against arrested Indian Mujahideen operatives Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar have revealed that security agencies,seeking to keep tabs on terror activities,may be far behind their targets when it comes to tech competence.

In Pictures: Yasin Bhatkal – The case file

Encryption of messages whether on e-mail or chats,dead dropping of e-mails and use of GPRS phones are among the methods being employed by Yasin and company to prevent detection by security agencies.

Related: Yasin Bhatkal arrest: Top developments

The nature of the technology used and operations of the IM have also led investigators to believe that it is aligned with the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan,which is known to be a tech-savvy terror outfit,rather than al-Qaeda,to which the IM has been linked in recent times.

Must Read: Who is Yasin Bhatkal

Several agencies reviewing the timeline of movement of Yasin and his missing associates — Waqas alias Javed and Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu — have found that they were close on the heels of the IM men on several occasions but never managed to pick up the crucial intelligence to nab them. Tahseen Akhtar is now suspected to be the interim leader of the IM in India.

While Yasin was suspected to have been out of India since the Mumbai triple blasts of July 13,2011,sources said the others have been moving around in cities like Mangalore,Belgaum and Hyderabad but managed to remain under the radar of security agencies.

How Yasin Bhatkal became a terrorist

“Every small message among them is encrypted. The use of regular phones is almost non-existent. They use only GPRS phones. They are a small group but very tech savvy. State police forces are two decades behind in technology usage to track such covert operations,” security sources said.

Investigators are said to be in the process of deciphering some 30,000 encrypted messages between the arrested IM operatives and their associates.

Bhatkal to officials: IM working on hydrogen peroxide-based IEDs

The Laskhar-e-Toiba displayed its technical acumen during the 26/11 Mumbai attack where a range of communication and navigation technologies was employed,using phones and call cards that were bought after careful concealment of the real identity of the buyers.

“There has been some effort to align with al-Qaeda but the IM operations seem more like the LeT,” sources said.

Officials said that during his interrogation,Yasin has been saying that the IM is no longer linked to the LeT but is trying to report to al-Qaeda,but this may not be true. While Yasin has been talking,he is believed to be concealing key information.

Related: Yasin Bhatkal wanted in several terror cases

Among the revelations made by him is that he received training in Pakistan in 2006 on the Baluchistan border. “He claims he identified the region after looking it up on Google map,” police sources said.

Yasin has also claimed that the attacks in Hyderabad in February this year were linked to the communal flashpoints in the city over places of worship,sources said.

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