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Terror suspect has roots in Pakistan, U.S.

Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India, during November 2008 attacks.
Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India, during November 2008 attacks.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Headley appeared in court Wednesday in connection with terror attacks in India
  • He was born Daood Gilani, according to his half-brother
  • Gilani was the son of a prominent Pakistani broadcaster, his half-brother said
  • Headley is accused of attending terrorism training camps and plotting attacks
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(CNN) -- David Headley, the Chicago, Illinois, man appearing in court Wednesday in connection with terror attacks in India, was born Daood Gilani, the son of a prominent Pakistani broadcaster, according to his half-brother.

He grew up in both the United States and Pakistan, with a parent from each country.

Headley's father, Syed Saleem Gilani, was working for the U.S.-government-funded Voice of America when Headley was born in 1960 in Washington, his half-brother Danyal Gilani said in a statement.

Headley's mother was American, and his parents divorced after they moved to Pakistan together, not long after Headley was born, his half-brother said. He did not name the mother.

His mother returned to the United States, but Headley remained in Pakistan, his half-brother said, citing "family elders." Headley went to high school at the Hassan Abdal Cadet College in Pakistan, Gilani and an FBI complaint against Headley indicate.

At some point after high school, Headley moved back to the United States to be with his mother, and has had little contact with his Pakistani family since then, Gilani said.

Gilani last saw Headley, whom he still refers to as Daood, "when he visited Pakistan a few days after my father's death, nearly a year ago."

He got a Social Security number in Pennsylvania sometime in the late 1970s, public records show.

He changed his name from Daood Gilani to David Headley on or about February 15, 2006, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in order to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani, according to the criminal complaint against him.

"His having another name or changing his name at some stage in life has come as a surprise to me. He has four kids and a Pakistani wife who also live in the United States," said Danyal Gilani, a public relations officer for the Pakistani prime minister's office.

He issued a long statement last month distancing himself from his half-brother, in response to reports in the Indian press trying to link Headley to Pakistan's prime minister, whose last name also is Gilani. But Danyal Gilani said his family was not related to the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Headley was arrested by federal agents on October 3 in Chicago, accused of helping plan terror attacks against a Danish newspaper that ran cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, sparking Muslim anger worldwide.

He was later linked to the bloody four-day terrorist siege in Mumbai, India, in November 2008 in which 160 people were killed.

The Justice Department accuses him of attending terrorism training camps in Pakistan in 2002 and 2003, and working with the group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba to carry out terror attacks.

The United States lists Lashkar as a terrorist organization. India blamed the group for the Mumbai attacks.

At the time of his arrest October 3, Headley was on his way back to India to plan a second attack, a source close to the investigation said.

Headley is cooperating with the authorities investigating both terror plots, the Justice Department has said. His lawyer did not dispute that.

Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major in the Pakistani military, was also charged with conspiracy in planning to attack the Danish newspaper. So was Tahawwur Hussain Rana, whom U.S. authorities identify as a Pakistani native and Canadian citizen who lives mainly in Chicago.

Headley said he worked for First World Immigration Services, a company owned by Rana, though authorities have said in court papers that surveillance showed that he "performs few services" for the company.

CNN's Reza Sayah in Islamabad, Pakistan, Terry Frieden in Washington, and Kathleen Johnston, Drew Griffin and Amy Roberts in Atlanta, Georgia, contributed to this report.

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