US & Canada

Mumbai accused 'plotted Danish newspaper attack'

Courtroom sketch of David Headley
Image caption David Headley said the plan to attack the newspaper was code-named the Mickey Mouse project

An alleged plot to attack a Danish newspaper which published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has been outlined in a Chicago court.

The accusation came in David Headley's testimony against Tahawwur Rana, on trial for his alleged role in the deadly 2008 attack in Mumbai, India.

Mr Headley said the idea was to kill everyone at the Jyllands-Posten paper.

The cartoons drawn published in 2005 prompted protests among Muslims around the world.

Prosecutors say Mr Headley and Mr Rana plotted a revenge attack on the newspaper, which was never carried out.

Scouting mission

During his testimony, Mr Headley said the plan to attack the Danish paper was codenamed the Mickey Mouse project.

The idea was to attack the newspaper's offices with explosives and firearms, he said.

The court heard he was given details of the plan by his handlers in the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Image caption Kurt Westergaard's cartoon featured a turban bomb

"Lashkar wanted to plan something. We were all infuriated," Mr Headley told the court.

He said he suggested "we only focus on the cartoonist and the editor", but his contact at Lashkar said that "all Danes are responsible for this".

The court heard he twice visited Denmark to film the newspaper offices, sending the tapes to his handlers in Pakistan.

He was arrested in October 2009 before the plot could be carried out.

Mr Headley, a US citizen who spent much of his childhood in Pakistan, has admitted to scouting sites for the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.

More than 160 people were killed when militants attacked two hotels, a cafe, a Jewish centre and a train station.

In March 2010, he pleaded guilty to taking photographs and videos of the targets as part of a plea bargain deal with prosecutors.

He will avoid the death penalty and extradition to India or Denmark, but could still face up to life in prison and a $3m (£1.86m) fine.

Mr Rana, a Chicago businessman, is accused of providing Mr Headley with cover for his scouting mission, but denies the 12 charges that have been levelled against him.

His lawyers say he was tricked by Mr Headley, a longtime friend from their days at a Pakistani military school.

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