November 26, 2008

Mumbai Under Attack (UPDATED)

At the top UPDATE by Rusty: Pic of one of the terrorists from Maharashtra Times.

mumbai_terrorist.jpg

Via Ultraborown which has great coverage (HT: STACLU which is also updating)


(Mumbai, India) India's financial capital came under terrorist attack today with a series of explosions at multiple locations.

According to Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A. K. Sharma:

The terror strike which began at 1033 PM at Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus(CST),formerly known as the Victoria Terminus (VT), claimed 10 lives in the premises of the station alone, police said. Three persons were killed in a bomb explosion in a taxi on Mazegaon dockyard road and an equal number were gunned down at Taj Hotel. The victim in the hotel were its employees.

The lobby of the Oberoi hotel was on fire and the hotel evacuated, eyewitnesses said. Maharashtra DGP A N Roy said tonight's attack in "at least seven places" is a "terror strike."

Sharma said 30 persons were injured in the CST incident. Commandoes were rushed to the CST which wore a deserted look and train services suspended.

Some people were injured in the firing in Oberoi hotel, and taken to a nearby hospital in police vans and ambulance. Firing was also reported in Taj hotel.

Firing was reported at Colaba, Nariman Point and near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal, formerly Victoria Terminus and it was still continuing.

Firing was also reported at Cama Hospital in south Mumbai, police said, adding that a blast was reported in a taxi under a flyover in suburban Vile Parle. A bomb went off in a taxi in Mazegaon dockyard road.

Current casualty estimates are 80 dead and over 250 injured.

Groups of heavily-armed gunmen are reported to be holding Westerners hostage at several locations as police try to get the situation under control.

More later

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UPDATE by Rusty: Number of dead keeps rising. CT Blog notes:

The incidents took place one day after the reported arrest of Lashkar -e-Toiba linked Raheel Sheikh by the Interpol in London. Raheel is one of the alleged masterminds of the conspiracy and was involved in the funding of the July 11, 2006, Mumbai serial train blasts that killed nearly 200 commuters and wounded over 500 people on that fateful day.
India has big problems with homegrown jihadis. Expect updates.


[Update by Mike]

Unconfirmed information from various media sources.

- Terrorists entered the luxury Taj, Trident and Oberoi Hotels, rocking them with multiple grenade blasts. Fifteen people are reported to be held hostage at the Taj Hotel, half are believed to be foreigners. Police have surrounded the Taj Hotel.

- Terrorists entering the hotels were looking for people with American or British passports.

- Mumbai's Anti-Terrorist Squad Chief was killed by gunfire.

- Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamote died when he attempted to capture two terrorists.

- Seven Mumbai Police Officers have died so far.

- The Indian Army and Navy in Mumbai have been put on alert and 65 Army Commandos and 200 National Security Commandos are being dispatched to the city. The Indian Army has reportedly already entered the Trident Hotel.

(Satellite image here)


[Update 4:45PM EDT]

From Mid-Day Mumbai:

Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are the only militant outfits capable of carrying out Fidayeen (suicide) attacks in the city. It is not the handiwork of Indian Mujahideen, claimed the police.

A senior police said a specially trained squad carried out the attack, which began at 9.40 pm yesterday. The use of AK assault rifles and grenades hint at a highly specialised group, that may have been trained in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Sources say that the attackers were part of a suicide group backed by operatives.

UPDATE II by Rusty: A group calling itself "Deccan Mujahideen" is claiming responsibility in an email. No idea of the legitimacy of the claim yet. Thanks to ./. in the comments.

UPDATE III: 900 injured? FUBAR.

UPDATE IV by Jane: Bill Roggio notes, "The Indian Mujahideen (the Deccan Mujahideen) has been implicated as being behind several recent attacks in India." And then he lists them including the July 25 and 26 bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, the Sept. 13 attacks in New Delhi, the bombings in Jaipur last May, and bombings in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007. A total of over 450 wounded and 130 people killed in the earlier attacks by Bill's count.

Bill describes The Indian Mujahideen as created by Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami, linked with the jihadist Students' Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI. "The groups receive support from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence and are al Qaeda affiliates," he says.

Update:(From Newbie) If this wasn't AQ central planned .....a new terror master planner on the scale of KSM has emerged on the world stage....Gird your loins boys and girls.

UPDATE by Rusty: I ran down the threat against Mumbai by the "Indian Mujahideen" referenced in a Hindi language video in the comments. Here's what I found. It's from Sep 15th:

“You should know that your acts are not at all left unnoticed; rather we are closely keeping an eye on you and just waiting for the right time to execute your bloodshed. We are aware of your recent raids at Ansarnagar, Mograpada in Andheri and the harassment and trouble you created there for the Muslims,” the group said in the email they sent to various media houses on Saturday evening.

“You threatened to murder them and your mischief went to such an extent that you even dared to abuse and insult Maulana Mahmood-ul-Hasan Qasmi and even misbehaved with the Muslim women and children there,” the email said.

“If this is the degree your arrogance has reached, and if you think that by these stunts you can scare us, then let the Indian Mujahideen warn all the people of Mumbai that whatever deadly attacks Mumbaikars will face in future, their responsibility would lie with the Mumbai ATS and their guardians – Vilasrao Deshmukh and R R Patil,” the email said. “You are already on our hit-list and this time very very seriously.”

The terror outfit also threatened to target a senior Rajasthan police official. “All the Mujahideen who shook Jaipur are absolutely safe and secure, and are preparing for our next targets, one of which is A K Jain – the DIG of Rajasthan,” claimed Indian Mujahideen.

This and other emails were subsequently traced to Mumbai, sent by "al_arbi_delhi@yahoo.com", "al_arbi_gujarat@yahoo.com", "alarbi.alhindi@gmail.com". The terrorists use unsecured wi-fi routers and proxy servers to avoid detection.

Updates below fold

Update by Stablehand: From comments - Warning about attack posted on 11/14. Pause it around 1:22 (does the date mean Hindu timezone?), 1:32-1:34

Also, Intelligence chiefs were expecting AlQaeda spectacular

The multiple attacks on Westerners in Bombay last night showed all the signs of an al-Qaeda strategy — picking on vulnerable Western “soft targets” but not in a country where there would be maximum security. The attacks on Western targets in Bali in 2002 when al-Qaeda-linked terrorists planted bombs in tourist-favoured restaurants and clubs was another example where the group switched its resources to achieve maximum impact.

Counter-terrorist experts last night said that India would have been selected for the latest spectacular “probably because that’s where al-Qaeda has sufficient resources to carry out an attack on this scale. They don’t choose for the sake of it, they look to see where they have the greatest capability and then order an attack,” a counter-terror expert told The Times.

Images

Update II by Stablehand - The State Department established a Consular Call Center for Americans concerned about family or friends who may be visiting or living in Mumbai, India. The number is: 1-888-407-4747.

Terrorist Came By Boats

The terrorists, who created havoc in Mumbai overnight, came by boats and struck at 10 places but their number is not known immediately, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said.

Addressing a press conference in the wee hours, he said two terrorists had been killed in encounters with police and security forces and nine suspects have been detained.

The terror attacks began between 9 pm and 9.15 pm with indiscriminate firing and bomb blasts, Deshmukh said.

The terrorists came by boats and started firing, he said but their number was not immediately known.

Update III by Stablehand: MSNBC

The Times of India said more than 900 people were sent to hospitals. That number could not immediately be confirmed.

A U.S. official told NBC News that at least one American was seriously injured but there were no other confirmations of American injuries or deaths.

Officials at Bombay Hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans were admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshot wounds. All were brought in from the Taj hotel, the AP reported.

At least three top Indian police officers — including Hemant Karkare, the chief of the anti-terror squad — were among those killed, said Roy, the police official.

Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were hostages at the Taj Mahal, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official. It was also unclear where the hostages were in the Taj Mahal, which is divided into an older wing, which was in flames, and a modern tower that was not on fire.

Unconfirmed reports of Israeli's abducted:

(IsraelNN.com) Muslim terrorists in Mumbai reportedly have abducted Chabad Rabbi Gabriel, his wife Rivka and their two small children. Indian television reported that six Israelis are being held hostage.

The Foreign Ministry has not confirmed the report, and its last official statement was that no contact has been made with them. It added that 20 Israelis are missing since the terrorist attack Wednesday night.

Indian media reported that a couple and their teenage son, none of them Israelis, were killed in the Chabad House, called the Nariman House. One terrorist also was killed. Gunfire occasionally has been heard from the building, which the army has surrounded.

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible tragedy.

Update IV by Stablehand:

Aussie soap actress Brooke Satchwell hid in cupboard as Mumbai terrorists attacked.

Brooke Satchwell, her boyfriend David Gross and seven other Australians, English and Americans are trapped in a hotel in south Mumbai, unable to get help and increasingly afraid for their lives

Mr Gross cut his leg escaping from Cafe Leopold as terrorists attacked.

"I can't even get my leg dressed, we can't to the airport, that's been bombed, we can't go to the police centres, they've been bombed,'' Mr Gross said from a hotel room - which he asked not to be identified.

Mr Gross, the son of Sydney QC Bernard Gross, was concerned information would alert the gunmen to their location.

"Neither the consulate in Mumbai ior the Embassy in Delhi are answering their phones,'' he said.

"Our local driver has said it's too dangerous to drive on the roads, and if we do we'll be sitting ducks, with nine of us in two small taxis trying to leave.

"We don't know where to go, because we haven't been told where we need to go at this stage.''

More stories like this will certainly be coming in.

Update V from Stablehand - I found a twitter site that is continuously
updated

Update VI from Stablehand - List of injured and deceased here

By at 11:59 PM | Comments |