The traffic control cell of Mumbai Police received a message from terrorists last night that threatened to execute an attack like the "26/11 terror blitz, Udaipur tailor’s killing or Sidhu Moosewala’s murder". A person was detained in this connection today.
Mumbai Police detained the man from Virar. The crime branch team, which is probing the threat messages, is questioning the suspect, sources said.
The threat sent to the WhatsApp number of the traffic control cell came from a number with Pakistan’s code, police said.
As per the police, the terrorists threatened another attack on Mumbai, saying that "six people in India would carry out the attack". The messenger said if their "location was traced", it would be found to be outside India, police said.
"A phone number from India could be hacked from Pakistan. The crime branch has started an investigation to trace the number. In this context, registration of a case is underway. We’re sharing all the information we have so far with ATS Maharashtra," said Mumbai police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar during a press conference today.
"Police received messages around 11:30 PM on Friday, which threatened that a 26/11-like attack would be carried out in Mumbai and the city would be blown up. There was a mention of 26/11 attacks terrorist Ajmal Kasab and (deceased) al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the messages," Phansalkar said.
"It was mentioned that some of their aides are working in India. Prima facie, the threat messages came from a number that has the country code of Pakistan," the officer said.
The Mumbai police commissioner assured the safety of citizens, adding that the Maharashtra ATS and Mumbai Police were on high alert. Police said security agencies were probing the threat and it was being taken seriously. "We are probing this. Work has been on through the night. Other agencies have been informed too," said a police official, adding that the possibility of the texts being a prank is also being investigated.
"Necessary measures are being taken to investigate the threat messages. We are alert on coastal security and are coordinating with the Coast Guard," Phansalkar said, adding that the Sagar Kavach operation has been launched and coastal security has been tightened.
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were one of the most horrific terror attacks in India’s history, in which 166 people were killed and over 300 injured as 10 heavily-armed militants from Pakistan created mayhem in Mumbai over a period of four days starting 26 November 2008. The terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani Islamist terrorist organisation, carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across the city.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly Ajit Pawar said the state government must take the threat seriously and probe. Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also commented on the matter. "First the Raigad recovery, now the police threat message. What’s happening in Maharashtra?" she asked.
The latest threats come two days after the state suffered a major security scare when a yacht with three AK-47 guns and ammunition drifted to the Raigad coast and was stuck at Harihareshwar beach. Though a potential terror threat was ruled out, a detailed investigation is being carried out by the ATS and police.
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