India terror attack flashback: Mumbai terror attacks 2008 (26/11)

January 24, 2023 1:19 am46 commentsViews: 836

At 4:15 a.m., Nov. 22, 2008, at least ten young Pakistani men extensively recruited and trained by the Islamic group Lashkar-E-Taiba set out from Karachi harbor under the cover of darkness aware that they were on a suicide mission.

Mumbai terror attacks 2008 (26/11)

According to autopsy reports conducted by Indian authorities, all men had traces of cocaine and LSD in their system and were in peak physical condition aided by the heavy use of anabolic steroids, a combination not altogether uncommon for modern suicide attackers.

The militants were given weapons aboard another launch ship, Al Husseini, which included Chinese AK-56 automatic rifles with magazines and ammunition and grenades, and they were each given cell phones.

The Indian Intelligence Bureau along with assistance from the FBI later traced some of the SIM cards as purchased in Kolkata.

Southeast of the Karachi harbor near Koti Bandar the team encountered the fishing boat M.V. Kuber, captained by Amar Singh Solanki with a crew of four men, who, according to India’s intelligence dossier, may have been an accomplice unaware that he was going to be murdered by the group after carrying them over five hundred nautical miles in the Indian Ocean to a spot near Mumbai’s port.

His body was later found by Indian investigators. Solanki’s crew boarded the Al Husseini at Koti Bandar and were later beheaded.

Arrival at Budhwar Park

It was evening on Nov. 26 when the jihadist militants reached the Mumbai jetty of Budhwar Park on inflatable boats or RIBs, and walked past a group of distracted fishermen absorbed in the Twenty20 Champions between India and England.

A few men noticed the suspicious group and reported the incident to the local police, according to the investigation by Indian authorities, but police never responded.

Mumbai’s harbor is notoriously in the control of the crime syndicate “D-Company” headed by leader Dawood Ibrahim, an infamous linchpin and prime financial backer for Islamic militancy against Hindu nationals.

Ibrahim is currently thought to be living in exile in Karachi, reportedly under the protection Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). From the Mumbai harbor terrorist suspects presumably split up in groups of two by taxi to various coordinate areas of southern Mumbai to begin their siege.

The Scene of the Attacks

What followed was a wave of five separate assaults on Western, Jewish, and Hindu targets in the capital city of Mumbai where the suspected members of Lashkar-E-Taiba (LeT) left over 160 dead and over 300 wounded, paralyzing the city of some 19 million and broadcasting its three-day terror through media networks across the globe.

“It was an attack both highly coordinated and deceptively simple in its execution,” FBI director Robert S. Mueller III said in a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations.

The first and deadliest of the attacks occurred at Chhartrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victorian station) when two of the militants indiscriminately fired into a crowded bus terminal killing 58 people and injuring over 100.

It took police authorities nearly 90 minutes to provide suitable backup at the station; the guardsmen at the terminals were using WWII-era vintage carbines and could do little to dispel the rapid firepower of the militants’ automatic weapons.

One of the attackers from the scene at Shivaji Terminus was captured alive by Indian police after fleeing from the terminal area with the other attacker and entering the Cama hospital to take hostages.

After Qasab and the assailant failed to get hostages they encountered police force and a gun battle ensued, where ten officers were subsequently killed, including the chief of Mumbai’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, Hemant Karkare.

A Violent Standoff

The Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish sect Nariman house, the Oberoi Hotel (formerly Trident), the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, and Leopold Café were the group’s other targets.

The siege ended in an armed stand-off with National Security Guard commandos inside the Taj Mahal hotel after nearly 60 hours on the early afternoon of Nov. 29.

A significant amount of details of the attack’s operations are attained from the confession of captured gunman Mohammad Amir Ajmal Qasab and substantiated by interceding communication briefings that link GPS coordinates and cell phone data from the attackers.

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