A WhatsApp message sent from a Pakistan-based number has set off an alert about the security of Mumbai, warning a repeat of the November 26, 2011, or 26/11, terror attacks on the city in which 175 people were killed and more than 300 injured.
The Traffic Control department of Mumbai Police received a message on its WhatsApp number last night, with the sender warning Mumbai Police about a “26/11-like” terror attack on the city, sources in Mumbai Police revealed today. Screenshots doing the rounds on social media showed the message originated from a WhatsApp number based in Pakistan. NDTV cannot verify their authenticity.
“Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch is investigating the matter and a case has been filed at Worli Police Station,” Vivek Phansalkar, the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, said today. Other security agencies have also been informed about it. Mr Phansalkar further said: “Initial investigations have revealed that the message came from a number in Pakistan. We have also received information about some phone numbers in India. I can assure all Mumbai residents that the matter is being taken seriously and we will get to the bottom of the case.”
In the threat message, the sender claimed that while the WhatsApp number originated outside India, the “blast” would happen in Mumbai.
Apart from issuing a threat on launching a terror strike on Mumbai, the WhastApp message also threatened that there could be an incident like the beheading of a tailor in Udaipur in June this year.
This threat message comes close on the heels of an abandoned and damaged boat that was found near Harihareshwar Beach in Raigad, 190 km from Mumbai, by fishermen, earlier this week. Three AK-47 rifles, ammunition and documents were found on it. The boat was on its way to Europe, via Muscat in Oman, when it developed an engine trouble on June 26. Around 1 pm that day, the boat’s crew were rescued. However, the boat could not be towed and was abandoned. It eventually reached the Harihareshwar coast. The boat, called Lady Han, was owned by Australian citizen Hana Laundergun, Maharshtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said. Though a terror angle has been ruled out, a detailed investigation is currently being carried out by the Anti Terror Squad and Raigad Police.
In the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, 10 terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, who were trained in Pakistan, had reached the city coast on inflated boats from Karachi, before launching a series of terror strikes from multiple locations in the city.