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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 27-Nov-2008
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba suspected in terrorist attack on Mumbai (Bombay), India

Web Log - November, 2008

Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba suspected in terrorist attack on Mumbai (Bombay), India

It's a "War on Mumbai" by an attack from the sea.


Relation of Karachi and Mumbai (Bombay)
Relation of Karachi and Mumbai (Bombay)

According to Indian intelligence sources, here's what happened: A cargo ship left Karachi, and hijacked a sophisticated fishing trawler, which docked near Mumbai. Three speedboats, laden with weapons and supplies, and containing some 20-25 terrorists, left from there and landed at different points in the Colaba fishing harbor in the heart of Mumbai. They broke into smaller groups and went from site to site, opening up indiscriminate gunfire with AK47s and hand grenades, killing and wounding hundreds of civilians.


Mumbai: Terror attack targets <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Mumbai: Terror attack targets (Source: CNN)

There were attacks across the length and breadth of Mumbai (a city that used to be known as Bombay).

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai was the major site of the attacks, but not the only site. There was an attack at the Oberei Hotel, where there are 4-5 hostages on the 19th floor, and attacks at the Camo Hospital, for women and children, the Metro Cinema, the CST Railway Station, Cafe Leopold, and the US Consulate.

The terrorists were searching for people with US or British passports, and took several of these people as hostage. About 15-30 hostages are still being held at various sites - the exact number is not known.


Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace Hotel <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: Times Online)</font>
Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Source: Times Online)

"The Taj" hotel was built in 1903, and is one of the nationís most famous landmarks, an iconic building that encapsulated both the pomp and grandeur of the British Raj and the enduring vibrancy of Indiaís film and financial capital.

It was clearly the intent of the terrorists to completely destroy this building, as they set of grenades with the intent of starting a fire.

Take a quick look at the article on the massive attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September, and the picture of the devastation. This may have been the inspiration for the attack on the Taj.

A little known group, the Deccan Mujahadeen, possibly named after the Deccan Plateau in southern India, is claiming responsibility. But intelligence sources say that this name was chosen as a red herring.

The complexity and sophistication of this operation indicates that it was well funded by a group that knew what it was doing. There are three major groups that are being investigated:

Right now, LeT is considered the most likely choice. LeT-related groups, linked to al-Qaeda, have launched terrorist attacks through the region, from Afghanistan to Kashmir. In this case, the terrorists who have been captured speak a Pakistani variant of the Punjabi language.

Al-Qaeda's hand seems very strong here. The demand for American and British passports might have been a (successful) publicity stunt to gain international attention, but it also feeds into al-Qaeda's objective to trigger an international war between Muslims and the Western "infidels."

As this is being written on Thursday morning ET, the Mumbai situation is still ongoing. The Taj and Oberei hotels are still on fire, and fresh gunfire and grenade explosions can still be heard from both sites. There are still many people, including hostages, trapped in both hotels.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Mumbai Shootings thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.

Other hot topics being discussed in the forum include the following:

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