Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten's offices in Denmark were not the only target for one of the world's most wanted terrorists, Ilyas Kashmiri.
In 2009 he checked the possibility of attacking other targets in Copenhagen, according to a confidential Indian report of the interrogation of American-Pakistani terrorist David Headley, obtained by Jyllands-Posten (DA, DA).
Headley was arrested in Chicago in October 2009 and charged with terror plans against Jyllands-Posten. He has since confessed that he was also involved in the Mumbai attack, where 166 people were killed.
In May 2009 David Headley met Kashmiri in Pakistan in a house filled with suicide vests. Here they discussed a general attack against targets in Copenhagen.
"During the meeting I was asked to concentrate my forces on the attack in Denmark as soon as possible," Headley told the investigators.
When Headley was arrested, he had in his possession recordings of the central train station, Copenhagen's town hall square, and the barracks of the Royal Life Guards.
This shows that the threat from al-Qaeda in the Headley case was more serious than previously assumed. The Danish Security Service (PET) did not wish to comment.
"Jyllands-Posten has a lot of symbolic value, but it's not certain that it will make a big difference if an attack elsewhere in Copenhagen succeeded. That's the way of thinking," says senior researcher Lars Erslev Andersen, of the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS).
"An attack somewhere in Denmark is easy to understand because of the Muhammed cartoons," says Magnus Ranstorp, head researcher at the Swedish National Defence College in Stockholm.
David Headley was looking for martyr-fighters. Preferably young, European-looking men with the proper Muslim faith, the proper training and the proper courage.
One of these men was a Moroccan born man named Farid, who was living in Sweden.
In August 2009, David Headley traveled to Stockholm, based on a tip from Ilyas Kashmiri, in order to recruit Farid to the planned attack in Copenhagen.
On October 1st, the Swedish security service Säpo raised the threat level in Sweden. Patrik Peter, Säpo spokesperson, said this was due to a specific threat against Sweden. He was unwilling to confirm or deny whether it was linked to David Headley.
It wasn't possible to confirm Farid's full name, and Patrik Peter didn't want to say whether he was later arrested or just interrogated.
Farid's meeting with Headley in Sweden took place at a secret address, but Farid disappointed Headley. "Farid told me that he was constantly watched and that he wasn't able to participate in the Denmark project," Headley said in the interrogation.
Headley's trip to Sweden was not made public before, and the news are also new for Ranstorp. "There are no known groups or networks in Stockholm which have such links to al-Qaeda groups. But we know that there are individuals in Stockholm who have contacts with both Pakistan and Afghanistan. We also know that some have been to training camps there."
Before his trip to Sweden, Headley met two potential terrorists - Basharat and Sufiyaan - in the British city of Derby. Both have roots in the Kotali area in Pakistan. Basharat wasn't interested in working for Ilyas Kashmiri, whom he thought was corrupt. Sufiyaan - called Simon in the UK - said he was ready. It's uncertain if he went to the training camps in Pakistan like Headley, or whether he was interrogated by the British authorities.
In October 2010, the American authorities said that he was still walking free. The meeting with the two British men led the British authorities to alert the Americans. The Americans then arrested Headley when he tried to go to Pakistan in October 2009.
Via the Guardian:
According to the documents, Kashmiri told Headley the two men in Derby – who were originally from Kotli, in north-east Pakistan – would help him. It transpired that one of the men had fallen out with Kashmiri, accusing the militant leader of allowing his son to steal funds for jihad, but he did agree to provide money for the mission; the other man "was available" for the attacks in Denmark, the documents reveal. These are based on 34 hours of interviews with Headley conducted by Indian investigators this summer.
They also describe in detail how Headley, having been deeply involved with the Lashkar-e-Taiba group in Pakistan and having conducted repeated surveillance trips for the Mumbai attacks, became involved with Kashmiri and, at one remove, al-Qaida. After spending six years with Lashkar, Headley said he became "mentally distanced" from the group and felt that the global agenda of Kashmiri and al-Qaida suited him better.