Jump to content

101 killed as gunmen rampage in India city

The Rover

Recommended Posts


MUMBAI, India (AP) - Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish group's headquarters in India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility.

Police and gunmen were exchanging occasional gunfire at two luxury hotels and dozens of people were believed held hostage or trapped inside the besieged buildings. Pradeep Indulkar, a senior official at the Maharashtra state Home Ministry said 101 people were killed and 287 injured.

Officials said eight militants had also been killed in the coordinated attacks on at least 10 sites that began around 9:30 p.m. Mumbai time, Wednesday.

Gunmen also seized the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch, the New York-based group said. Indian commandos surrounded the building Thursday morning and media reports said gunfire was heard from the building.


They say that 8 of the gunmen were killed and that 9 gunman were caprutred.......

So, now...what you do is you WATERBOARD the captured terrorists, until you get all of the pertinient information you desire..... and then.... you publicly execute them.


Sorry if this suggestion offends any bleeding hearts ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CNN Coverage of Mumbai, India Terrorist Attack

MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- The morning after teams of gunmen carried out a brazen series of attacks across southern Mumbai -- killing scores of people and taking hostages in multiple locations -- the situation remained chaotic.


(CNN) -- Gunmen targeted several areas in the Indian city of Mumbai on Wednesday, taking scores of hostages, killing dozens and taking hostages in two luxury hotels frequented by Westerners: The Taj Mahal Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel.


9:20 p.m. ET (7:50 a.m. IT): While multiple outlets have reported that a group called the Deccan Mujahideen have claimed responsibility for the attacks, Rediff.com reports that police and the Intelligence Bureau are not ruling out the involvement by the Indian Mujahideen, an offshoot of the Students Islamic Movement of India.


NEW DELHI -Teams of gunmen attacked three luxury hotels, a hospital, a train station, a movie theater, and other buildings in Mumbai late last night, killing at least 101 people and wounding 280 in a rampage through the heart of India's financial capital, police said. The attackers took dozens of people hostage, and witnesses said they were seeking out Americans and Britons.

The gunmen, armed with explosives, laid siege to two of the hotels all night. Troops stormed in to rescue people, some of them foreign nationals, trapped inside. The 105-year-old Moorish-styled rooftop dome of the landmark Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel was engulfed in fire, and flames billowed out of many rooms. One wing of the waterfront hotel was gutted. Seven hours after the first attack, firefighters rescued more than 50 hotel guests and escorted them to ambulances.

The attacks occurred in the affluent southern quarters of the financial district of this city of 15 million people. Hospitals were overwhelmed and sent out appeals for blood donations. Police said parts of the city remained under siege today. Guests were still trapped inside the 36-floor Oberoi Trident hotel, possibly as hostages. Commandos tried to storm the hotel, and police battled the gunmen as hotel guests signaled to firefighters from their room windows. The third hotel to be attacked was the Ramada, to the north.

Gunfire still continued at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels at dawn today.

The identity of the attackers was not clear. A group calling itself the Deccan Mujaheddin asserted responsibility for the attacks in e-mails. Intelligence officials said they thought it was a new group and were unsure of its aims or identity. The purported group's name apparently refers to the Deccan Plateau, an area that spans eight states and covers much of central and southern India. The term "mujaheddin" suggests the attackers are Muslim extremists.

R.R. Patil, chief of internal security for the state of Maharashtra, said the gunmen came from the sea around 9 p.m. local time Wednesday, and a rubber boat laden with explosives was later seized by police. About 9:25 p.m., eyewitnesses told reporters, two men with automatic weapons started firing outside the popular Leopold Cafe, then the attackers moved toward the Taj Mahal hotel, firing at random. One team moved to the city's main train station. Local trains were suspended after a high-security alert, and the police cordoned off the area, which is usually packed with night revelers at street food vendors and cafes.

The hotel evacuated many guests, some of whom could be seen wheeling out their luggage. Others fled down the fire escape in bathrobes.

Witnesses told reporters that the gunmen initially asked for Americans and Britons. "They were young boys, maybe 20-25 years old. They basically were saying they wanted anyone with British and American passports," said a Briton quoted by the Times Now television channel. "There were about 15 people, about half of which were foreigners. We went to the 18th floor. It became very smoky, and we escaped and ran down the stairs. They were in jeans and T-shirts. Just normal, casual."

Alex Chamberlain, a British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi, told Sky News television that a gunman had ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and, speaking in Hindi or Urdu, ordered them to put up their hands.

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically," he recounted. "There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said, 'Where are you from?' and he said he's from Italy, and they said, 'Fine,' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything' - and thank God they didn't," he said.

Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.

Some guests of the Taj Mahal, including two members of the European Parliament who were visiting on a trade delegation, remained in hiding in the hotels, making desperate cellphone calls, some of them to television stations, describing their ordeal.

Sajjad Karim, 38, a British member of the Parliament, told Sky News: "A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me."

Before his phone went dead, Karim added: "I managed to turn away, and I ran into the hotel kitchen, and then we were shunted into a restaurant in the basement. We are now in the dark in this room, and we have barricaded all the doors. It's really bad."

Officials today said six attackers were killed, and nine suspects detained. Eleven policemen, including the chief of Mumbai's counter-terrorism squad, Hemant Karkare, died in the fighting at the hotels.

Since May, a wave of bombings has ripped through public places in several Indian cities, killing more than 200 people. Some of the bombings were followed by claims of responsibility from a group calling itself the Indian Mujaheddin.

"Who they are is a matter that is still under investigation, because our first priority is to rescue the people trapped inside the two hotels. We do not have correct knowledge about how many people are still trapped," said Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra at a press conference in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. He denied that foreign nationals were specifically targeted. "It is not right to say that they were only targeting foreigners. Most of the people killed were Indians."

In Washington, US intelligence officials were closely monitoring developments in India while analysts studied the attacks for signatures of known terrorist groups. The starting assumption was that the attacks were linked to Islamic extremists, though not necessarily Al Qaeda or other well-known groups.

"The sophistication of the attacks and the choice of targets put Islamic extremists at the top of the list," said a senior US counterterrorism official. "They are the most natural suspects."

But the official noted that the Indian government has been targeting numerous groups, some of which have mounted suicide attacks against public buildings. "It is still an unfolding situation, and any hard and fast conclusions would be premature," said the counterterrorism official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not cleared to talk about the events.

Private intelligence analysts noted that the attacks were markedly different from others that have occurred in India in recent weeks. Those attacks involved planted explosives detonated by remote control and were aimed at soft targets such as religious temples, markets, and train depots. By contrast, the attackers last night chose relatively harder targets - hotels - and were essentially suicide missions, they said.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said US officials were not aware of any American casualties, but were still checking. He said he could not address reports that Westerners might be among the hostages.

"The United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will continue to stand with the people of India in this time of tragedy," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "President Bush offers his condolences to the Indian people and the families of the innocent civilians killed and injured in the attacks."


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just hope our government doesn't decide we need to be in a war in Pakistan. I'm sick of all the news about us policing the globe. These people are a bunch of weirdos looking for anything to get attention and they know a mention of the UK or America will get the most media. Well it's a small world, but I do believe they specified the UK and America anyhow.

Religious basket cases once again get the first news of the day.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

CNN has good coverage of this story. A terrorist group called L.E.T. are claiming responsibility. They are based in Pakistan and thought they may be attempting to divert attention from AlQaeda by these attacks.

Some background on them: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/india/articles/20080410.aspx

A mounting sense of persecution, fueled by the government's seeming reluctance to address the brutal anti-Muslim riots that killed more than 2,000 in the state of Gujarat in 2002, has aided the cause of homegrown militant groups. They include the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was accused of detonating nine bombs in Bombay during the course of 2003, killing close to 80. The 2006 terrorist attacks on the Bombay commuter rail system that killed 183 people were also blamed on SIMI, as well as the pro-Kashmir Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).


Gujarat 2002

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CNN has good coverage of this story. A terrorist group called L.E.T. are claiming responsibility. They are based in Pakistan and thought they may be attempting to divert attention from AlQaeda by these attacks.

Some background on them: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/india/articles/20080410.aspx

Diverting attention from Alkeeeda was exactly what went through my mind. I agree with Rover

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diverting attention from Alkeeeda was exactly what went through my mind. I agree with Rover

Diverting attention may be a by-product of the main goal of the minority Islamic radical militant groups. They are rebels with a cause.

The disembodied voice was chilling in its rage. A gunman, holed up in Mumbai's Oberoi Trident hotel where some 40 people had been taken hostage, told an Indian news channel that the attacks were revenge for the persecution of Muslims in India. "We love this as our country but when our mothers and sisters were being killed, where was everybody?" he asked via telephone. No answer came. But then he probably wasn't expecting one.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just hope our government doesn't decide we need to be in a war in Pakistan. I'm sick of all the news about us policing the globe. These people are a bunch of weirdos looking for anything to get attention and they know a mention of the UK or America will get the most media. Well it's a small world, but I do believe they specified the UK and America anyhow.

Religious basket cases once again get the first news of the day.


In this case..... I think that India will be taking care of business without needing any US forces to help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance

The roots of Muslim rage run deep in India, nourished by a long-held sense of injustice over what many Indian Muslims believe is institutionalized discrimination against the country's largest minority group. The disparities between Muslims, which make up 13.4% of the population, and India's Hindu population, which hovers around 80%, are striking. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking Muslim Indians have shorter life spans, worse health, lower literacy levels, and lower-paying jobs. Add to that toxic brew the lingering resentment over 2002's anti-Muslim riots in the state of Gujarat. The riots, instigated by Hindu nationalists, killed some 2000 people, most of them Muslim. To this day, few of the perpetrators have been convicted.


I read that the hostages are now dead.

N.Y. rabbi, wife killed at Mumbai Jewish center

American dad, daughter killed at hotel; battle persists at Taj Mahal hotel


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Earlier tonight when i had a few minutes to watch CNN i saw a Canadian from Vancouver who was there and just returned home. He is Jewish and he said that these people, while targeting the Jews (because they were predominately the ones where the attacks accured) don't care who they kill, they just want to kill people. He also said this has to be stopped NOW!

I don't really have a point except that sometimes i just hate this world i live in. People are still such animals, even worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

March, Thursday 25, 1993

"Dear children, today as never before I invite you to pray for peace: peace in your hearts, peace in your families, peace in the entire world. Satan wants war, he wants the world to have no peace and he desires to destroy all that is good. For this reason, my dear children, pray, pray, pray. Thank you for answering my call!"


Gujarat intelligence suspects IM masterminds behind Mumbai attacks

Even as Chief Minister Narendra Modi made a mature statement appealing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call an emergency National Security Council meeting and involve the naval and military officers in it in the wake of the new strategy of the terrorists to strike after landing by the sea route, senior Gujarat police and intelligence officials analysing the Mumbai attacks strongly feel that Pakistan-based Riaz Bhatkal and Amir Raza Khan, the masterminds of Indian Mujhahideen (IM) attacks that shook several Indian cities recently, might also be involved in the planning of the latest Mumbai attacks.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The age of 'celebrity terrorism'

By Paul Cornish

Chairman, Chatham House's International Security Programme

Quite apart from the scores murdered and the hundreds injured, what the Mumbai terrorists really wanted was an exaggerated - and preferably extreme - reaction on the part of governments, the media and public opinion.

In these terms, the attackers received as much attention as they could possibly have hoped for, and the Mumbai outrage can only be described as a very significant terrorist success. The attack received saturation coverage in the world's media from the outset.

Almost within minutes, television screens showed harrowing scenes of pools of blood where people had died or been injured, hotels ablaze, Indian army snipers firing at distant targets, and CCTV images of the attackers.

Especially disturbing, hostages and survivors reported that certain nationalities had been identified by their passports and taken away for execution.

No matter how obscure, every detail of this multi-point, sustained attack was soon being pored over by terrorism experts, trying to fit the carnage in Mumbai into one template or another.

Unanswered questions

So the speculative - and often tendentious - questioning began.

What were the tactics of the terrorists? What weapons did they have and where could they have got them? How much planning and preparation would have been necessary for a military-style operation of this sort? Who were the terrorists - where were they from and what did they want?

Who was the mastermind behind the attacks? And did the attacks have the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda-style operation. Was it all part of the global jihad against the West?

This is precisely how terrorism is meant to work - the terrorist's action must always be complemented by the target's reaction in order to complete the scene.

How the attack is carried out, and what is done to whom, matters no more - and often rather less - than the way the attack is received, and the impact accorded to it.

The impact has indeed been instant and extensive, reaching into the worlds of politics, business and even sport, and on all levels - internationally, regionally and nationally in India.

Adding meaning

But, for all the horror of the Mumbai attack, there might have been much less to it than first met the eye, and a hasty and exaggerated response might have played more of a part, and given more meaning to the attack than it should.

Nobody appears to have heard of the Deccan Mujahideen - perhaps because they have never existed.

Perhaps it was not so difficult after all to plan and execute this attack: small arms and hand grenades are not hard to find, boats are scarcely specialised equipment, and Mumbai is a vast, open city with more than enough soft targets.

Perhaps we do not know enough about where the perpetrators are from, because they could have come from almost anywhere?

The terrorists were willing to show their faces on CCTV. Was this suicide for martyrdom - as in New York and Washington in 2001, and London in 2005 - or suicide for celebrity, as in Columbine in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007?

And perhaps so little is known of the terrorists' cause, because they simply did not feel the need to have one.

The attack in Mumbai was obviously planned - but "military-style planning" (whatever that means) is probably not necessary for the mass murder of unarmed and unsuspecting civilians going about their business in crowded railway stations and restaurants.

This could also have been a plan which had a large gap where mission, cause or vision statement ought to have been.

But no matter. The terrorists might have assumed, quite correctly as it happens, that the world's media and the terrorism analysis industry would very quickly fill in any gaps for them.

Writing the narrative

The character of modern terrorism is widely understood to have been shaped by a mid-19th-Century idea known as the "propaganda of the deed" - a strategy for political change in which the message or cause is contained within, and expressed by the violent act.

In a novel twist, the Mumbai terrorists might have embarked on propaganda of the deed without the propaganda in the confident expectation that the rationalisation for the attack - the narrative - would be provided by politicians, the media and terrorism analysts.

If so, then Mumbai could represent something rather different in the history of terrorism, and possibly something far more disturbing even than global jihad.

Perhaps we have come to the point where casually self-radicalised, sociopathic individuals can form a loose organisation, acquire sufficient weapons and equipment for a few thousand dollars, make a basic plan of action and indulge in a violent expression of their generalised disaffection and anomie.

These individuals indulge in terrorism simply because they can, while their audience concocts a rationale on their behalf.

Welcome to the age of celebrity terrorism.

The invitation to the world's D-list malcontents reads as follows: No matter how corrupt your moral sense, how contorted your view of the world, how vapid and inarticulate your ideas, how talentless you are and how exaggerated your grievance, an obsessive audience will watch your every move and turn you into what you most want to be, just before your death.

Story from BBC NEWS:


Published: 2008/11/30 10:30:29 GMT



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The age of 'celebrity terrorism'

By Paul Cornish

Chairman, Chatham House's International Security Programme

Quite apart from the scores murdered and the hundreds injured, what the Mumbai terrorists really wanted was an exaggerated - and preferably extreme - reaction on the part of governments, the media and public opinion.


Key IM Operative Riaz Bhatkal Gives Cops the Slip, Flees India

Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff

Bangalore, Oct 6: Investigations into the antecedents and role played by the Indian Mujahideen in the serial blasts in the country are likely to hit a dead end with another major player of the outfit giving investigating agencies the slip and fleeing the country.

Riaz Bhatkal, a key operative of the IM who was in charge of funding terror activities, has reportedly left for Dubai, according to sources in the Intelligence Bureau.

Riaz, who is originally a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka, was one of the main agents of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in India before taking active part in the operations of the IM.

His main job was to fund terror operations and organize funds for the same. Investigating agencies say that he had organized funds for the recent spate of bombings and his name had first cropped up in the Mumbai train blasts when one of the accused confessed to Riaz funding the operation.

Riaz, who travelled across the country extensively, had come to Bhatkal to meet his family. The Western Range police had said that the main reason for him to come to his hometown was to see his new born daughter. However, after investigations were stepped up, Riaz slipped out of Karnataka and later India.

IB sources say Riaz could have slipped away to Dubai. Prior to sneaking out of the country he had taken shelter in Ullal in coastal Karnataka.

Karnataka Police had launched a massive manhunt for this man with the Mumbai cops but their search yielded no results. The police say that from Ullal, he could have moved into Kerala and then out of the country.

Nabbing Riaz would have been crucial to the investigations as he is supposed to have had a lot of information on the working of the IM.

Immediately after the serial blasts at Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi, the police came to the conclusion that the entire operation was masterminded by Abdul Subhan. However, this man managed to give the slip and took the Nepal route and entered into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Following this, the police pinned their hopes on Abdul Sami, a SIMI operative from Karnataka who was arrested in connection with the Bangalore blasts. He is said to have been close to Subhan.


NEW DELHI: The operation carried out by terrorists in Mumbai was clearly the handiwork of jihadis from across the border — an indication of their having chipped in to give a fresh impetus to terror, which had for some time now been entrusted to outfits like the locally formed Indian Mujahideen.

The Pakistani project to foster ‘‘home grown’’ terror through IM was intended to create the impression that India’s internal conditions were responsible for terrorism, not the cross-border traffic.

But at a time when police in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi crippled the IM’s local cadre through a series of arrests in the wake of recent serial blasts, terror managers in Pakistan might not have been averse to pushing its tried and tested jihadis allied to outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba to stage a big strike.

Whenever Pakistani agencies have thought of delivering a massive strike against India, they have tended to use Lashkar and Jaish operatives. This has been the case in the Parliament attack case, the Ayodhya terror episode, attacks on the outskirts of Jammu, and the Mumbai suburban train bombings.


12:00 AM CST on Sunday, November 30, 2008

The New York Times

This was not terror – not as Indians understood it, anyway. This was war.

The killers stormed the streets of Mumbai, India's financial capital, with machine guns and bags of grenades. They did not strike with the terrorist's fleeting anonymity. Their work was fastidious.

As a surprise attack became a days-long struggle, the burden of responding transferred from the police to soldiers. The language was of war: television anchors spoke of buildings "sanitized" and "flushed out," of "final assaults" and "collateral damage."

Helicopters hovered over Mumbai, and commandos dropped onto roofs. The grainy television imagery suggested not so much a terrorist attack as the chaos of Iraq.

In the end, nearly 200 people were killed. And contrary to earlier reports, it appeared that Westerners were not the gunmen's main targets: They killed whoever they could.

By Saturday evening, 18 of the dead were confirmed as foreigners, including six Americans. An additional 22 foreigners were injured, said Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra State, where Mumbai is.

There were reports on the first night of the attacks that gunmen rounded up holders of American and British passports at the Oberoi Hotel and herded them upstairs. But Rattan Keswani, president of the affiliated Trident Hotels, said he had found no basis for such reports.

"Nothing seems to suggest that," he said, noting that a range of nationalities was represented among the 22 hotel guests who died, in addition to the 10 staff members, all Indian.

The city's police chief, Hasan Gafoor, said nine gunmen were killed. A 10th suspected terrorist was arrested.

The police said he was a 21-year-old Pakistani, Ajmal Amir Kasab.

A senior Mumbai police inspector, Nagappa R. Mali, said the suspect and one of his collaborators, who was slain by police, killed three top police officials, including the head of the anti-terrorist squad, Hemant Karkare.

Around dawn Saturday, gunfire began to rattle inside the Taj Mahal hotel, one of about a dozen sites that the militants attacked beginning Wednesday night. They never issued any manifestoes or made any demands, and it seemed clear from their resistance at the Taj that they intended to fight to the last.

By midmorning Saturday, after commandos had worked their way through the 565-room hotel, the head of the elite National Security Guards, J.K. Dutt, said the siege was over.

By afternoon, busloads of elite commandos, fresh from the siege of the hotel, sat outside the nearby Gateway of India and shook hands with elated spectators.

The violence was unlike the many recent strikes in India – those were typically bombs left in thronging markets or trains or cars. The Mumbai attackers seemed to prolong the fight as long as they could. They killed face to face.

In television studios, on the roads, in the anguished phone calls of friends to friends, Indians said the words again and again: This is our 9/11.

"It is an Indian variant of 9/11, and today India needs to respond the way America did," Ravi Shankar Prasad, a member of Parliament from the rightist Bharatiya Janata Party, said on television.

People purporting to be the attackers have said they belong to a group called the Deccan Mujahedeen, and claimed to be waging a war in Islam's name. It was uncertain whether they are of domestic or foreign origin.

Islamist militants in India have in recent years operated somewhat apart from the global Islamist struggle. They bombed and killed, but their enemies generally were Indian Hindus.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the attacks "probably" had a foreign hand. His temperateness helped to keep the ever-present threat of religious riots at bay.

Amartya Sen, a Harvard economist and Indian-born Nobel laureate, wrote in an e-mail message: "It is extremely important to understand that the criminal activities of a minuscule group, even if it turns out to have homegrown elements, say nothing about Indian Muslims in general, who are an integral part of the country's social fabric.

"Even if it turns out that the Mumbai terrorists had a base in Pakistani territory, India has to take full note of the fact that the bulk of Pakistani civil society is an ally, not an enemy, in the battle against Islamist terrorism, for they too suffer greatly from the violence of a determined minority based in their country."


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This tragedy has hung like a dark cloud over what would have been a festive Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I, along with our children, have lived in India and that place has become like a second home to us. We became so comfortable with and accustomed to the way of life in India - we worked there, our children went to school there, we made friends there, many of whom we are still in contact with today. I haven't been back in more than five years but each time that I have returned, when I step off the plane into the airport, to me, it feels like coming home. While we were living in India, several tragedies occurred that affected the U.S.: the first attack on the WTC, the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the Federal Building in OKC, the siege and subsequent massacre at Waco, etc. - and when every one of those incidents occurred, our Indian friends and colleagues were there to commiserate and grieve with us and to offer their prayers and condolences. After 9/11, when we were back in the U.S., we heard once again from our friends in India. The outpouring of prayers and condolences we received from them was incredible and moving. One of our Indian friends even wrote and dedicated a song to us. In turn, over the past several days, my husband and I have shared the grief of our friends and colleagues in India as we've offered our prayers and condolences to them. :'(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do hope your friends in India are safe MSG. It has most definitely been a dark cloud hanging above. I have a friend who has been there on a working holiday for 2 weeks. She was supposed to be in Mumbai the day of the rampage and is due to fly out of there on Monday. I am scared for her and just so saddened by our friends on the board who live there and for everyone.

I keep singing John Lennon's Give Peace A Chance. We are so overdue for a more peaceful time in the world :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From The TimesDecember 1, 2008

Mumbai attacks 'were a ploy to wreck Obama plan to isolate al-Qaeda'The carnage may have been an attempt to put Pakistan and India at each other's throats and kill US hopes for the region. Jeremy Page in Mumbai, Tom Coghlan and Zahid Hussain visited Relations between India and Pakistan were on a knife edge last night amid fears that Delhi's response to the Mumbai attacks could undermine the Pakistani army's campaign against Islamic militants on the frontier with Afghanistan.

Officials and analysts in the region believe that last week's atrocities were designed to provoke a crisis, or even a war, between the nuclear-armed neighbours, diverting Islamabad's attention from extremism in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and thus relieving pressure on al-Qaeda, Taleban and other militants based there.

One analyst even described the attacks as a "pre-emptive strike" against Barack Obama's strategy to put Pakistan and Afghanistan at the centre of US foreign policy.

The United States and its allies now face a balancing act in supporting India's efforts to investigate the Mumbai attacks, without jeopardizing Pakistan's crucial support for the Nato campaign in Afghanistan.

India's government, facing an election by May, is under enormous pressure to respond to the attacks, which it believes was carried out by the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, possibly with the help of al Qaeda.

Lashkar-e-Taiba was also blamed for an attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, which prompted India and Pakistan to mass troops on each other's border, almost triggering their fourth war since independence in 1947.

The Indian government is now considering a range of responses, including suspending its five-year peace process with Pakistan, closing their border, stopping direct flights and sending troops to the frontier, according to Indian officials and analysts.

Pakistan's government, meanwhile, has been rallying support in telephone calls to opposition politicians, as well as to officials in China, the United Arab Emirates and the EU.

It has also made it clear that if India again masses troops on the border, Pakistani forces would be diverted away from the tribal areas, allowing militants there to focus on Afghanistan.

"The next 48 hours are critical in determining how things unfold," a top Pakistani security official told reporters. "We will not leave a single troop on the western border if we are threatened by India."

His warning, highlighting the international implications of the Mumbai attacks, was clearly designed to encourage the United States and its allies to temper India's response. The United States has forged a new strategic partnership with India since 2004, but has closer and older ties to Pakistan, a key Muslim partner in the War on Terror.

Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 troops along its porous border with Afghanistan, where US and Nato forces are fighting against the Taleban, al Qaeda and other militants. Some 35,000 of those Pakistani troops are involved in the fight against al Qaeda and Taleban militants who have been sheltering in Pakistan's northern tribal areas since late 2001.

Withdrawing those soldiers would undermine their progress, especially since Pakistan launched its biggest offensive to date against the militants in the tribal region of Bajaur in September.

"We are highly encouraged by the Pakistani military progress," said Colonel Gregg Julian, a U.S. military spokesman. "It is creating pressure on al Qaeda from two sides and it is getting very difficult for them right now. We would hope that they are able to keep up that pressure."

Pakistani officials and analysts said that withdrawing troops would also benefit local militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. "The withdrawal of troops will give a huge space to the militants," said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Pakistani defence analyst and former professor at Punjab University.

"The main objective of the militants involved in the Mumbai attack was to destablise the region? They will thrive in the event of war between the two countries [india and Pakistan]."

The two groups were originally founded by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency as deniable proxies to be sent to fight Indian forces in the disputed region of Kashmir. They have been blamed for numerous attacks on Indian targets.

However, Western intelligence agencies have recently perceived a growing nexus between these and other, militant groups such as the Pakistani Taleban and al Qaeda. In June, it was reported that some 300 militant leaders from a number groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad met in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi.

There they reportedly agreed that while the Kashmir struggle remained important, their primary focus should be the fight against international forces in Afghanistan.

Just a few weeks later, nine US soldiers were killed in an attack on a combat outpost at Wanat in the Afghan border province of Nuristan that displayed unusual military competence. Intelligence reports subsequently assessed that the assault included a significant Lashkar-e-Taiba element, as well as al Qaeda fighters.

The growing relationship between al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba may explain the scale and sophistication of the Bombay attacks, said Dr Kanchan Lakshman of the South Asia Terrorism Portal. "It would also suggest why they targeted Americans, British and Israelis," he said.

He added that he had heard from an Indian intelligence official that the Mumbai attack had been funded by Saudi money, again suggesting an al Qaeda link.

Other Indian analysts said the attack appeared to be an attempt to undermine US policy towards India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"There's a lot of clamour for action against Pakistan from India," Pratap Bhanu Mehta, the head of the Centre for Policy Research. "This attack was not just an attempt to scuttle India's peace process with Pakistan. It was in many ways a pre-emptive strike against [barack] Obama's strategy for the region."

The U.S. President elect has proposed increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and stepping up the pressure on Pakistan to attack militants on its territory. In exchange, he has suggested appointing an special envoy to help resolve Pakistan's territorial dispute with India over Kashmir.

A crisis in India-Pakistan relations would scupper both plans.

Doctor Antonio Giustozzi, an expert on Afghanistan at the London School of Economics, said Washington could weather such a crisis, but concurred on the militants' aims.

"I think that the terrorists have made a calculation that aims to worsen relations between India and Pakistan and embarrass the Pakistan government, in the hope that the Indians make an uncontrolled response," he said.

That, he said, would "strengthen the militants' hand and compromise the campaign by Islamabad against extremists by diverting troops back to the Indian border."

Courtesy Times Online London:



Hopefully if anyone has friends and family there, they are all well. A friend and I were talking, and the state of the world today makes everyone very uneasy, if not actually in or near tears.

:'( Let there be peace, please?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MUMBAI, India - The only gunman captured after a 60-hour terrorist siege of Mumbai said he belonged to a Pakistani militant group with links to the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, a senior police officer said Sunday.

The gunman was one of 10 who paralyzed the city in an attack that killed at least 174 people and revealed the weakness of India's security apparatus. India's top law enforcement official resigned, bowing to growing criticism that the attackers appeared better trained, better coordinated and better armed than police.

The announcement blaming militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, threatened to escalate tensions between India and Pakistan. However, Indian officials have been cautious about accusing Pakistan's government of complicity.

'Signatures of the attack'

A U.S. counterterrorism official had said some "signatures of the attack" were consistent with Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, another group that has operated in Kashmir. Both are reported to be linked to al-Qaida.

Lashkar, long seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service to help fight India in disputed Kashmir, was banned in Pakistan in 2002 under pressure from the U.S., a year after Washington and Britain listed it a terrorist group. It is since believed to have emerged under another name, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, though that group has denied links to the Mumbai attack.

Authorities were still removing bodies from the bullet and grenade scarred Taj Mahal hotel, a day after commandos finally ended the violence that began Wednesday night.

As more details of the response to the attack emerged, a picture formed of woefully unprepared security forces. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised to strengthen maritime and air security and look into creating a new federal investigative agency — even as some analysts doubted fundamental change was possible.

"These guys could do it next week again in Mumbai and our responses would be exactly the same," said Ajai Sahni, head of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management who has close ties to India's police and intelligence.

Trained in Pakistan camp

Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said the only known surviving gunman, Ajmal Qasab, told police he was trained at a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistan.

"Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the terrorist acts in the city," he said.

A spokesman for Pakistani President Asif Zardari's spokesman dismissed the claim.

"We have demanded evidence of the complicity of any Pakistani group. No evidence has yet been provided," said spokesman Farhatullah Babar.

In the first wave of the attacks, two young gunmen armed with assault rifles blithely ignored more than 60 police officers patrolling the city's main train station and sprayed bullets into the crowd.

Bapu Thombre, assistant commissioner with the Mumbai railway police, said the police were armed mainly with batons or World War I-era rifles and spread out across the station.

"They are not trained to respond to major attacks," he said.

The gunmen continued their rampage outside the station. They eventually ambushed a police van, killed five officers inside — including the city's counterterrorism chief — and hijacked the vehicle as two wounded officers lay bleeding in the back seat.

"The way Mumbai police handled the situation, they were not combat ready," said Jimmy Katrak, a security consultant. "You don't need the Indian army to neutralize eight to nine people."

'Indian 9/11'

The alleged attacker, identified as a Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Qasam, told interrogators that they wanted to go down in history for an "Indian 9/11", and were also inspired by the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad in September, Times Now TV said, quoting an unidentified defense ministry official.

Local news channel NDTV reported that the gunmen had booked a room in the Taj Mahal hotel to store explosives. The captured militant told investigators the gang aimed to blow up the hotel and hoped to kill a total of 5,000 people. It is thought that the terrorists underestimated the strength of the building's stone exterior.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


People held candles near The Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, India, in a demonstration yesterday against the attacks.

India's top security minister resigns

New York Times / December 1, 2008

MUMBAI, India - The top domestic security official resigned in disgrace yesterday for the failure to thwart or quickly contain the horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week, as the government announced a raft of measures to bolster antiterrorism efforts and struggled to calibrate a response to what it views as Pakistani complicity.

Top officials have suggested that groups based in Pakistan had some involvement in the attacks. The suspension of diplomatic relations and a cross-border raid against suspected militant training camps in Pakistan were not ruled out.

The security official, Shivraj Patil, the home security minister, became the first senior official in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's administration to leave office over the Mumbai attacks, which have traumatized the nation for their ferocity and audacity and laid bare glaring deficiencies in India's intelligence and enforcement abilities. The pressures on the government are especially acute, with elections only six months away.

While Indian officials insisted publicly that the mayhem was carried out by 10 heavily armed men, there were new indications that others had been involved and that the attackers had at least some accomplices pre-positioned on the ground.

The three-day siege of Mumbai, the country's financial capital, ended Saturday with a death toll of at least 188, hundreds wounded, and two of Mumbai's most famous five-star hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower and the Oberoi, where most of the mayhem took place, partly in ruins. At least 28 of the dead were foreigners, including at least six Americans and eight Israelis killed at a Jewish religious center that had been seized by the attackers and was stormed by elite Indian commandos dropped from a helicopter.

Despite repeated assertions by Pakistan's government that it bore no responsibility, the attacks have raised the pitch of India-Pakistan tensions to their most dangerous level in years. Not since the December 2001 suicide attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, which India blamed on Pakistani groups, have there been such blunt Indian accusations about outlaws based across the border; that episode prompted the two countries to send their armies to the border, sparking fears of war between the nuclear neighbors.

The Bush administration, hoping to help defuse the possibility of new hostilities, announced it was sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India this week "to stand in solidarity with the people of India as we all work together to hold these extremists accountable."

Yesterday, a senior government official said Singh's administration would have to consider a range of measures to show toughness toward Pakistan. "The government is under pressure; we are taking steps," the official said. "We're not trying to say we're going to attack them. Short of that everything will have to be pursued." "Certainly we are not going to sit back with Pakistan unleashing this terror on India," the official added.

With national elections less than six months away, Indian officials are aware of the need to shore up public confidence in the country's domestic security apparatus. Yesterday evening, Singh said his government would expand the National Security Guard, the elite antiterrorist unit that sent its Black Cat commandos to flush out the attackers from the two hotels and the Jewish center.

Singh also said discussions were underway to establish a federal agency of investigation to streamline the work of state and national agencies, and to fortify maritime and air security. The police have said the attackers came by boat. The Indian government had been warned as far back as March 2007 of infiltration by sea.

"Clearly, much more needs to be done," Singh said in a written statement, "and we are determined to take all necessary measures to overhaul the system."

In a telephone interview from the capital, the junior home minister, Shriprakash Jaiswal, said the government would double the size of the 7,400-strong National Security Guard.

The force was created after the 1984 siege of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by Sikh separatist militants. Nearly 500 civilians and more than 80 army personnel were killed in that standoff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Captured terrorist's account of Mumbai massacre reveals plan was to kill 5,000

Extensive Article in the Daily Mail w/photos:



This is the only surviving gunman of the massacre in Mumbai. Seconds after this picture was taken, 21-year-old Azam Amir Kasav began to kill.

He and the terror cell's leader began their attacks at the city's Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station.

They later hijacked two cars, before police caught them. During two days of questioning, Kashmiri-born Kasav, who used the alias Ajmal Kasab, told police: 'I have no regrets'.

He is said to have told officers the cell was to seek out 'white targets, preferably British and American'. The terrorists thought they would come out alive and had an escape route, added Kasav.

He revealed that the ten terrorists, who were highly trained in marine assault and crept into the city by boat, had planned to blow up the Taj Mahal Palace hotel after first executing British and American tourists and then taking hostages. He then added that their intention was to kill 5,000 people.

Mercifully, the group, armed with plastic explosives, underestimated the strength of the 105-year-old building's solid foundations.

As it is, their deadly attacks have left close to 200 confirmed dead, with the toll expected to rise to nearly 300 once the hotel has been fully searched by security forces.

Yesterday, Kasav chillingly went through details of Wednesday night's killing spree across the city, which ended when he was cornered by police.

He pretended to be dead, which probably saved his life. It was only when he was being transferred to hospital by ambulance that his accompanying officer noticed he was still breathing.

Once inside Nair Hospital, Kasav, who suffered only minor injuries, told medical staff: 'I do not want to die. Please put me on saline.'

And as Indian commandos ended the bloody 59-hour siege at the Taj yesterday by killing the last three Islamic gunmen, baby-faced Kasab was dispassionately detailing the background to the mayhem.

And Kasav described how he and an accomplice sprayed machine-gun fire around a busy railway station, killing dozens of people, before intending to move to the exclusive district of Malabar Hill, where they planned to 'take VIPs hostage'.

One police officer said: 'That, thankfully, never happened because we managed to stop them.' Police insist that Kasav confessed to being a member of the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has denied involvement in the carnage, and claimed he and the others were trained in the Muslim country.

Intelligence analysts are keeping more of an open mind, however. And some political observers point out an unhelpful tendency by the Indian authorities continually to blame 'Pakistan elements' without solid evidence.

Some speculative reports emerging from New Delhi even suggested Pakistan's intelligence services had a hand in training the terrorists.

Meanwhile, claims that up to seven of the terrorists could have been British men of Pakistani origin, who had connections to West Yorkshire, were being widely discounted.

A top Indian official, Maharashtra state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, said there was 'no authentic information' to suggest that any British citizens were involved.

The UK Foreign Office also said there was 'no evidence' that any of the terrorists were British.

One report suggested that one of the terrorists had been working at the Taj hotel as a kitchen porter for up to eight months before the attacks and had produced a British passport during his job interview. But this was strongly denied by the hotel management.

Scotland Yard detectives arrived in Mumbai yesterday, but only to lend their assistance and expertise to the investigation.

According to the account of Kasav's interrogation, given by police sources, the terrorists were trained over five months in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, then had a month off before the attacks. At some stage, they also received intensive instruction in 'marine assault' operations.

Kasav and the nine other terrorists, who communicated using BlackBerry mobiles, began their journey to Mumbai on November 21.

Initially unarmed, they left an isolated beach near Karachi in a small boat, before being picked up the following day by a larger vessel.

At this point they were each given eight hand grenades, an AK-47 rifle, an automatic pistol and ammunition. And in anticipation of a lengthy siege, they also carried dried fruit.

Kasav told police that the group then hijacked a fishing trawler bearing the name Kuber near the maritime boundary between Pakistan and India.

Four of its crew are missing while the fifth has been found dead, apparently beheaded. Its owner and his brother are being questioned by police.

On November 23, after reaching Porbandar in the Indian state of Gujarat, 310 nautical miles from Mumbai, the insurgents were intercepted by two coastguard officers. The group hoisted a white flag and allowed the two men to board their boat.

According to Kasav, one of the militants then attacked one of the officers, slitting his throat and throwing him overboard. The other man was forced to help the group reach their destination before being executed as the vessel drew near to Mumbai.

For most of the journey, Kasav's friend, 25-year-old Abu Ismail, a trained sailor, steered the vessel using GPS equipment. Three speedboats met the Kuber a mile and a half from the Mumbai seafront on Wednesday. After waiting for the light to fade, they moved off, later transferring to two inflatable dinghies to go ashore.

The two groups then split up. Four men went to to the Taj hotel, two to the Jewish centre of Nariman House, Kasav and another man set off by taxi towards the railway station, and two headed for the Leopold restaurant.

While his colleagues were executing hostages at the Taj, Kasav and Ismail first opened fire with their assault rifles at around 10.20pm, killing dozens of people standing at Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station.

Then they hijacked a police 4x4, killing the two officers inside. Kasab told investigators they continued their killing spree by attacking a petrol station and blowing up a taxi before being stopped.

'I have done right,' he told investigators. 'I have no regrets.'

One police source said: 'He [Kasav] was telling our people this in a most dispassionate way and responded to the horror their faces betrayed by shrugging his shoulders, as if it was all of no real consequence.'

Sources said tests on Kamal's blood and urine showed he was under the influence of drugs to help keep him alert during the long battles with Indian security forces.

Guests who had been holed up during the three-day siege at the Taj hotel told of their ordeal yesterday.

Briton Richard Farah, who was trapped in his room before being rescued by commandos, hid his passport in his false leg after terrorists were reported to be seeking British and American passport holders.

'I saw all the blood and broken glass and shrapnel. Tons of blood and shoes, people's shoes, women's shoes, men's shoes,' he said.

'In the last few hours there were so many explosions and the floors shook.

I said, 'I'm a goner,' because it was right below me.

Eventually, we got to the lobby. I'd hidden my passport in my leg. If they had come to get me they wouldn't have found it.'

Evidence was emerging last night that the the gunmen killed their victims early in the siege and fooled Indian security forces into thinking that they were holding hostages.

At the Sir J.J. Hospital morgue, an official said that of the 87 bodies he had examined, all but a handful had been killed during Wednesday night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


November 22, 2008: "Speaking on 'American Foreign Policy After Elections,' organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Aspen Institute India in Mumbai, Thursday, Kissinger, answering a query on the multi-billion project, initially said he had no knowledge about every problem in the world, The Hindu reported here Friday."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...