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Maldives is home to the reconnaissance men behind the Bengaluru IISC and Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks

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On December 28, 2005, Bengaluru was the target of a terror attack, reportedly its first such terror attack. Terrorists opened fire killing Professor Munish Chandra Puri and injuring four. At around 7.20 pm delegates attending the International Conference on Operations Research at the JN Tata Auditorium on the IISC campus witnessed a shooting by two black-masked gunmen in army fatigues.

The reconnaissance man behind the IISC terror attack was a man named Ali Aashama aka Ali Sham. The role of Ali Aashama was revealed to the Indian authorities in a confession by Sabahuddin Ahmed aka Sabha aka Farhan who was accused in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks. Sabahuddin told investigators that a Maldivian named Ali Aashama did the reconnaissance for the Bengaluru 2005 IISC terror attack and provided the two gunmen with the details of the IISC campus. Sabahuddin Ahmed was acquitted for lack of evidence but faces trial for his role in the IISC Bengaluru terror attack. He was charged under the IPC Arms Act, Explosive Substance Act, and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on September 23, 2021.

Ali Aashama escaped the snare of the Indian authorities for the last 18 years. Besides, his role in the IISC Bengaluru terror attack and Mumbai 26/11 terror attack. He is known to have befriended Mohammed Ziliyan another Maldivian who was studying in Bengaluru at that time around 2004 and introduced him to LeT.

Mohammed Ziliyan returned to Maldives after his studies in Bengaluru. On his return to Maldives, Ziliyan got involved with some local Islamic radicals and was suspected of being a part of the uprising in Maldives in 2005. His family, with its political connections, sent him to Yemen via Colombo. His name even appeared on the ‘Wanted List’ of the Maldivian Police Department. In Yemen, he further connected with LeT and went to Pakistan to train. He agreed to work as a paid agent for LeT and his first assignment was to travel to India, Mumbai in particular. He was provided with money and a mini-pocket camera for his reconnaissance work of the targeted locations in Mumbai.

Ali Aashama along with Bangladeshi LeT operative Faisal Haroun worked together in India, particularly in the coastal belt of India. They were tasked with the role of building the LeT network in South India. Their work focused on indoctrinating, training, and hiring men and women in regions of Kerala and coastal Karnataka to wage an ‘Islamic War’ or ‘Jihad’ against India. During the logistical planning behind the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack Mohammed Ziliyan and Ali Aashama reconnected once again. Ali Aashama along with Faisal were tasked with procuring and supplying weapons and some components for IEDs for the Mumbai 26/11.

Mohammed Ziliyan was the second reconnaissance man, other than David Headley who was tasked with the responsibility of taking pictures of the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Trident Hotel, Nariman, and other targetted locations in Mumbai. Ziliyan and Ali Aashama both trained at the LeT camp at Muridke in Daura-E-Aam and Daura-E-Khaas. They met at the camp once again after their connection in Bengaluru. Ali Aashama was working on building the LeT network in South India. LeT tasked Ali Aashama with the job of procuring and supplying weapons and some components for the IED for 26/11, while Ziliyan was tasked with the role of the second reconnaissance man.

The role of Mohammed Ziliyan in the Mumbai 26/11 attack remained hidden since 2008 until GoaChronicle exposed this Maldivian hand a few weeks ago.

The Indian authorities have not been able to get their hands on either Ali Aashama or Mohammed Ziliyan to date.

The reconnaissance man behind the IISC terror attack and the supplier of some weapons and components for the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack Ali Aashama is in Maldives. GC intelligence network has learned that Ali Aashama injured one of his eyes in a freak accident when making an IED in 2012. While he continues to remain a LeT operative, he remains behind the curtains and is known to be underground and protected by the LeT network in the Maldives. He is reportedly living in one of the atolls of Maldives – Vaavu – but he is also known to keep relocating in and around Maldives and has been seen in Hulhumale.

Mohammed Ziliyan too keeps moving between Maldives and Gulf countries but his exact location at this point is not known. His family in Maldives known for their political connections has kept him under the radar since the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack. He was last spotted on Addu Island in the Maldives.

Maldives is a recruitment ground for LeT and ISIS terror operatives. It is also a haven that is safe for terrorists. The President of Maldives Dr Mohammed Muizzu is known to be soft on Islamic radicals and terrorists. His government last month paid for a charter plane to bring back 24 ISIS terror operatives from the Al Hawal camp back to Male. His government is also working to bring back 243 ISIS terror operatives currently in jail in Afghanistan.

Former President of Maldives Mohammed Nasheed had in two interviews one in 2009 and one in 2013 with an Indian media channel revealed that there were Maldivian hands in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks.

While Maldivian hands in terror operations have been mapped by the Indian intelligence agencies, the persistent focus has been on Pakistan, and rightfully so, however since 2010, LeT and ISIS spread their operations outside of Pakistan because of the international pressure post-2008 Mumbai terror attack and Maldives became of fertile recruitment grounds with allies such as Jamiyyath Salaf. Ibrahim Mohammed, brother of Sajidha Mohammed, wife of President Dr Muizzu, is a trained LeT operative. He too trained at the LeT training camp at Muridke. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Ibrahim is the brother of Sajidha Mohammed and he is the President of Jamiyyath Salaf.

Indian government must question the President of Maldives Dr Muizzu about the exact whereabouts of Ali Aashama and Mohammed Ziliyan in Maldives.

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