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Chicago man faces 12 counts of terrorism

CHICAGO — A Chicago man conducted extensive surveillance on potential targets in the Indian city of Mumbai before the terrorist attacks there in November 2008 that left 166 people dead, federal authorities charged Monday.

Prosecutors say David Coleman Headley, who already has been charged with planning an attack on a Danish newspaper after it ran cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, made five extended trips to Mumbai from September 2006 through July 2008, taking pictures of various targets.

He allegedly scouted hotels such as the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, the Leopold Cafe, a Jewish center known as Nariman House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station — each of which was attacked with guns, grenades and other explosives.

Headley was charged in U.S. District Court on Monday with 12 counts, including six counts of conspiracy to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim individuals in India and Denmark and other offenses.

He could be sentenced to death if convicted on the charges involving the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The charges filed Monday said Headley, 48, had attended training camps in Pakistan this decade that were run by the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which specializes in violence against India. They also said the U.S. citizen formerly named Daood Gilani conspired with members of that group to launch terrorist attacks in India. Prosecutors said Headley changed his name in 2006 so he could pass in India for an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.

Headley and Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, 48, a Canadian national, were charged in October with plotting to attack the Jyllands Posten in Denmark. The newspaper published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in 2005 that set off protests in parts of the Islamic world.

Chicago man faces 12 counts of terrorism 12/07/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 7, 2009 10:47pm]

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