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Coordinated Terrorist Attacks Hit Mumbai, India


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MSNBC.com

 

Terrorists strike in Mumbai, hold hostages

 

At least 80 people killed in gun, grenade attacks on hotels, train station

 

NBC News and news services

updated 5:40 p.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 26, 2008

 

MUMBAI, India - Terrorists armed with automatic weapons, bombs and grenades attacked at least seven sites in Mumbai on Wednesday and were holding Western hostages at two luxury hotels, authorities said. Police and Indian media reported at least 80 people were killed and 250 wounded.

 

The gunmen targeted five-star hotels, a popular restaurant, a police station, a crowded train station and other sites in India's financial capital in attacks that began late Wednesday and continued into Thursday, police and witnesses said.

 

Explosions were heard at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, and an ensuing fire engulfed the top of the landmark building early Thursday. Screams could be heard and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the century-old waterfront edifice. Firefighters were spraying water at the blaze.

 

Meanwhile, army troops began moving into another hotel, the Oberoi, thought to contain hostages.

 

"We have reports of 80 people dead and at least 250 injured. Many have serious injuries and the toll will go up," P.D. Ghadge, a police officer in the main control room in Mumbai, told Reuters.

 

A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, said police were continuing to battle the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed, the encounters are still going on and we are trying to overpower them," he said.

 

Officials said at least four suspects were killed by police and nine others arrested.

 

An organization calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen sent an e-mail to news organizations claiming responsibility for the attacks. Terrorism experts said they had not previously heard of the group.

 

Trying to account for Americans

Among those killed in the attacks was Hemant Karkare, chief of the police anti-terrorist squad in Mumbai, Indian television reported.

 

The U.S. State Department said all U.S. diplomats in India were safe, but officials were still trying to account for any Americans who may have been staying in the hotels and other targeted areas.

 

"At this point, we are unaware of any American casualties," said State Department deputy spokesman Robert A. Wood.

 

Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best-known luxury hotels, the Taj and the Oberoi. The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said.

 

The attackers were holding an unknown number of Western hostages at both locations, media reports said. NDTV reported gunmen asked for U.S. and U.K. passport holders to be pulled aside.

 

Assailants also attacked a police station, the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark.

 

The motive was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, including a series of blasts in July 2007 that killed 187 people.

 

Chaotic scene

 

"I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports," said Rakesh Patel, a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel on business. "They had bombs."

 

"They came from the restaurant and took us up the stairs," he told the NDTV news channel, smoke stains all over his face. "Young boys, maybe 20 years old, 25 years old. They had two guns."

 

Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were prisoners at the Taj Mahal, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official.

 

"It was really scary. It was like the sound of loud crackers, not one but several, we just ran out of there," said Janice Sequeira, a tourist who had been at a restaurant in the Taj.

 

Several European lawmakers were among those who were staying at the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.

 

"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a forthcoming EU-India summit. He turned to get away "and all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.

 

Hours later, he remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure whether it was safe to come out.

 

A European official was among the wounded at the Taj.

 

"My hotel is surrounded by police and there are gunmen inside," European lawmaker Ignasi Guardans told Spanish radio from the Taj. "We are in contact with some deputies inside the hotel, with one in a room and another hidden in the kitchen. There's another official hurt and in hospital."

 

The lucky escaped quickly.

 

Americans, Britons singled out

Arvind Kodekar was at a wedding reception at the Taj when an explosion rang out.

 

"When we heard the sound of the blast everyone the bride, the groom, everyone just ran. We heard the sound of two blasts and we just ran," said Kodekar, who was wearing a black suit with a rose in the lapel, but whose trousers were frayed and bloody from where he had been cut by broken glass.

 

At the Oberoi, police officer P.I. Patil said shots had been fired inside and the hotel had been cordoned off. He would not give any other details.

 

Alex Chamberlain, a British restaurant-goer at the Oberoi, told Sky News television that the attackers singled out Britons and Americans. He said a gunman, who appeared to be in his early 20s, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands.

 

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. 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 the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu. He managed to slip away, but said most of the group was still being kept hostage.

 

Evacuated on hotel luggage carts

Some of the injured were evacuated from the Taj on the hotel's golden luggage carts, while waiters in black and white formal wear and chefs were seen leaving the Oberoi.

 

The gunmen also attacked police headquarters in south Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. "We are under fire, there is shooting at the gate," said constable A. Shetti by phone from police headquarters.

 

Leopold's, a restaurant popular with tourists, was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood stains on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.

 

Sourav Mishra, a Reuters reporter, was with friends at the Cafe Leopold when gunmen opened fire Wednesday night. He received injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

 

"I heard some gunshots around 9:30. I was with my friends. Something hit me. I ran away and fell on the road. Then somebody picked me up. I have injuries below my shoulder," Mishra said from a hospital bed he was sharing with three other people.

 

The wreckage of a red scooter, the remains of shop awnings and broken glass were strewn across the street.

 

Armed police, rifles ready at the hip, set up barricades around the explosion site, and local people were seen yelling at each other, angry that another terror attack had hit the city.

 

Vehicles and street vendors' barrows were used to keep locals away, and military four-wheel-drives with horns blaring sped to the bomb site.

 

History of terrorist attacks

There were other attacks elsewhere.

 

The Press Trust of India quoted Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A.K. Sharma as saying that several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up in the train station.

 

Sameeran Chakraborty, a Mumbai resident, told the NDTV news channel he heard a blast inside a car near the city airport.

 

"It was a big noise and one car was involved, definitely not more than that."

 

Leaders across the world swiftly condemend the attacks.

 

" These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism," said Brooke Anderson, chief national security spokesperson for President-elect Barack Obama. "The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks."

 

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

 

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Not good. This had to have been planned far in advance.

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MSNBC.com

 

Terrorists strike in Mumbai, hold hostages

 

At least 80 people killed in gun, grenade attacks on hotels, train station

 

NBC News and news services

updated 5:40 p.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 26, 2008

 

MUMBAI, India - Terrorists armed with automatic weapons, bombs and grenades attacked at least seven sites in Mumbai on Wednesday and were holding Western hostages at two luxury hotels, authorities said. Police and Indian media reported at least 80 people were killed and 250 wounded.

 

The gunmen targeted five-star hotels, a popular restaurant, a police station, a crowded train station and other sites in India's financial capital in attacks that began late Wednesday and continued into Thursday, police and witnesses said.

 

Explosions were heard at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, and an ensuing fire engulfed the top of the landmark building early Thursday. Screams could be heard and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the century-old waterfront edifice. Firefighters were spraying water at the blaze.

 

Meanwhile, army troops began moving into another hotel, the Oberoi, thought to contain hostages.

 

"We have reports of 80 people dead and at least 250 injured. Many have serious injuries and the toll will go up," P.D. Ghadge, a police officer in the main control room in Mumbai, told Reuters.

 

A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, said police were continuing to battle the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed, the encounters are still going on and we are trying to overpower them," he said.

 

Officials said at least four suspects were killed by police and nine others arrested.

 

An organization calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen sent an e-mail to news organizations claiming responsibility for the attacks. Terrorism experts said they had not previously heard of the group.

 

Trying to account for Americans

Among those killed in the attacks was Hemant Karkare, chief of the police anti-terrorist squad in Mumbai, Indian television reported.

 

The U.S. State Department said all U.S. diplomats in India were safe, but officials were still trying to account for any Americans who may have been staying in the hotels and other targeted areas.

 

"At this point, we are unaware of any American casualties," said State Department deputy spokesman Robert A. Wood.

 

Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best-known luxury hotels, the Taj and the Oberoi. The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said.

 

The attackers were holding an unknown number of Western hostages at both locations, media reports said. NDTV reported gunmen asked for U.S. and U.K. passport holders to be pulled aside.

 

Assailants also attacked a police station, the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark.

 

The motive was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, including a series of blasts in July 2007 that killed 187 people.

 

Chaotic scene

 

"I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports," said Rakesh Patel, a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel on business. "They had bombs."

 

"They came from the restaurant and took us up the stairs," he told the NDTV news channel, smoke stains all over his face. "Young boys, maybe 20 years old, 25 years old. They had two guns."

 

Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were prisoners at the Taj Mahal, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official.

 

"It was really scary. It was like the sound of loud crackers, not one but several, we just ran out of there," said Janice Sequeira, a tourist who had been at a restaurant in the Taj.

 

Several European lawmakers were among those who were staying at the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.

 

"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a forthcoming EU-India summit. He turned to get away "and all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.

 

Hours later, he remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure whether it was safe to come out.

 

A European official was among the wounded at the Taj.

 

"My hotel is surrounded by police and there are gunmen inside," European lawmaker Ignasi Guardans told Spanish radio from the Taj. "We are in contact with some deputies inside the hotel, with one in a room and another hidden in the kitchen. There's another official hurt and in hospital."

 

The lucky escaped quickly.

 

Americans, Britons singled out

Arvind Kodekar was at a wedding reception at the Taj when an explosion rang out.

 

"When we heard the sound of the blast everyone the bride, the groom, everyone just ran. We heard the sound of two blasts and we just ran," said Kodekar, who was wearing a black suit with a rose in the lapel, but whose trousers were frayed and bloody from where he had been cut by broken glass.

 

At the Oberoi, police officer P.I. Patil said shots had been fired inside and the hotel had been cordoned off. He would not give any other details.

 

Alex Chamberlain, a British restaurant-goer at the Oberoi, told Sky News television that the attackers singled out Britons and Americans. He said a gunman, who appeared to be in his early 20s, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands.

 

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. 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 the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu. He managed to slip away, but said most of the group was still being kept hostage.

 

Evacuated on hotel luggage carts

Some of the injured were evacuated from the Taj on the hotel's golden luggage carts, while waiters in black and white formal wear and chefs were seen leaving the Oberoi.

 

The gunmen also attacked police headquarters in south Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. "We are under fire, there is shooting at the gate," said constable A. Shetti by phone from police headquarters.

 

Leopold's, a restaurant popular with tourists, was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood stains on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.

 

Sourav Mishra, a Reuters reporter, was with friends at the Cafe Leopold when gunmen opened fire Wednesday night. He received injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

 

"I heard some gunshots around 9:30. I was with my friends. Something hit me. I ran away and fell on the road. Then somebody picked me up. I have injuries below my shoulder," Mishra said from a hospital bed he was sharing with three other people.

 

The wreckage of a red scooter, the remains of shop awnings and broken glass were strewn across the street.

 

Armed police, rifles ready at the hip, set up barricades around the explosion site, and local people were seen yelling at each other, angry that another terror attack had hit the city.

 

Vehicles and street vendors' barrows were used to keep locals away, and military four-wheel-drives with horns blaring sped to the bomb site.

 

History of terrorist attacks

There were other attacks elsewhere.

 

The Press Trust of India quoted Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A.K. Sharma as saying that several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up in the train station.

 

Sameeran Chakraborty, a Mumbai resident, told the NDTV news channel he heard a blast inside a car near the city airport.

 

"It was a big noise and one car was involved, definitely not more than that."

 

Leaders across the world swiftly condemend the attacks.

 

" These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism," said Brooke Anderson, chief national security spokesperson for President-elect Barack Obama. "The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks."

 

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

 

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Not good. This had to have been planned far in advance.

 

This is most likely connected to the ongoing Naxalite insurgency. They have been trying to get into the Mumbai area for a long time. It makes a lot of sense that they would hit Mumbai in that type of way. The Naxalite insurgency is so strong they are even spread all the way up to Nagaland and working with the people of Nagaland in the ethnic conflict between their provence and India. Sad, but not a huge surprise since India has about 4 different "wars" going on.

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Almost two days later, gun battles are still ongoing. The death toll is up to 150, which includes a 13 year old American girl and an older American man.

I am really surprised by this. I still have a feeling it is connected with the Naxalite Insurgency. The targets are not usual targets for the movement, but in a way it makes sense because what they are attacking are international travel spots -- which could kill travel for many people -- And as an insurgency I think the attacks may be more to cripple India than it is to kill Jewish people or Americans.

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I don't think so. Their tactics may have been inspired by Al Qaeda, but it just doesn't sound like an actual Al Qaeda attack.

I agree, I still think it is part of their many internal conflicts. While almost 20 countries were represented in the hotels that were attacked it seems like it is trying to put a shadow of Mumbai. Attacks have gone up in about 5-6 areas of India and basically New Dehli and Mumbai were the safe international cities.... Not to many people will be visiting Mumbai anymore.

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It is seriously a hard time. RIP

 

I know most of the dead werent jews, but surprisingly, its safer for jews in Israel, than in the U.S. or other countries. This would very unlikely happen there. The intelligence is tremendous. The attacks there are by individual people and are relatively small

What? There were 2 Jews killed in the attacks.

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It is seriously a hard time. RIP

 

I know most of the dead werent jews, but surprisingly, its safer for jews in Israel, than in the U.S. or other countries. This would very unlikely happen there. The intelligence is tremendous. The attacks there are by individual people and are relatively small

What? There were 2 Jews killed in the attacks.

 

Try six (the number killed at the Chabad House) plus whoever was at the Taj or Oberoi. And the coroner said that the Jewish and Israeli victims were treated much more viciously before their deaths than the other victims.

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It is seriously a hard time. RIP

 

I know most of the dead werent jews, but surprisingly, its safer for jews in Israel, than in the U.S. or other countries. This would very unlikely happen there. The intelligence is tremendous. The attacks there are by individual people and are relatively small

What? There were 2 Jews killed in the attacks.

 

Try six (the number killed at the Chabad House) plus whoever was at the Taj or Oberoi. And the coroner said that the Jewish and Israeli victims were treated much more viciously before their deaths than the other victims.

EDIT: Read article that six died, up from 2.... They count the two American-Jews... Still though compared to the other countries I do not think this was a direct attack at all. It would be irrational to think so.

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Not a direct attack on Jews? What dope are you smoking? You DO know that the Chabad House was in a nondescript location in the residential section of Colaba, right? You just can't walk down the street, look at a building, and say, "Yup, that's the Chabad House." The attackers had to physically go out of their way to find the address, not get caught, and not go into one of the similarly looking buildings. Anyone who doesn't think it was a direct attack on Jews is just naive.

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Not a direct attack on Jews? What dope are you smoking? You DO know that the Chabad House was in a nondescript location in the residential section of Colaba, right? You just can't walk down the street, look at a building, and say, "Yup, that's the Chabad House." The attackers had to physically go out of their way to find the address, not get caught, and not go into one of the similarly looking buildings. Anyone who doesn't think it was a direct attack on Jews is just naive.

I have said it 100x it was an attack on India and its international presence. Sure they attacked Jews also, but that was minor compared to other deaths. UK had 15, US had 6, Spain had 5, Italy had 3, India had 120. Also there were over 35! countries present in each of the hotels attacked. That was too scare the world from India. It was to take an international destination and ruin it. I am not saying the attack wasn't towards Jews as well, but in no way was that a direct attack to the Jews. It has already been basically proven it was from Pakistan. The one who surrendered had his cellphone with all contacts going to Pakistan. Like anything else it is the continued conflict between Pakistan and India. Pakistan tried to make a statement. They have the war in Waziristan, the Balochistan War, and with India in conflict with the Nagaland and the Naxalite-Maoists it makes perfect sense to make that attack when all their focus is off the border of Pakistan and in the Eastern part of the country.

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It is seriously a hard time. RIP

 

I know most of the dead werent jews, but surprisingly, its safer for jews in Israel, than in the U.S. or other countries. This would very unlikely happen there. The intelligence is tremendous. The attacks there are by individual people and are relatively small

What? There were 2 Jews killed in the attacks.

 

Try six (the number killed at the Chabad House) plus whoever was at the Taj or Oberoi. And the coroner said that the Jewish and Israeli victims were treated much more viciously before their deaths than the other victims.

 

 

Not true.

 

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid...icle%2FShowFull

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Not a direct attack on Jews? What dope are you smoking? You DO know that the Chabad House was in a nondescript location in the residential section of Colaba, right? You just can't walk down the street, look at a building, and say, "Yup, that's the Chabad House." The attackers had to physically go out of their way to find the address, not get caught, and not go into one of the similarly looking buildings. Anyone who doesn't think it was a direct attack on Jews is just naive.

I have said it 100x it was an attack on India and its international presence. Sure they attacked Jews also, but that was minor compared to other deaths. UK had 15, US had 6, Spain had 5, Italy had 3, India had 120. Also there were over 35! countries present in each of the hotels attacked. That was too scare the world from India. It was to take an international destination and ruin it. I am not saying the attack wasn't towards Jews as well, but in no way was that a direct attack to the Jews. It has already been basically proven it was from Pakistan. The one who surrendered had his cellphone with all contacts going to Pakistan. Like anything else it is the continued conflict between Pakistan and India. Pakistan tried to make a statement. They have the war in Waziristan, the Balochistan War, and with India in conflict with the Nagaland and the Naxalite-Maoists it makes perfect sense to make that attack when all their focus is off the border of Pakistan and in the Eastern part of the country.

 

Bulldurham is wrong, you are right. To say this was a direct attack on jews is naive 120 Indians to 6 jewish people makes bull's statement look very stupid.

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It is seriously a hard time. RIP

 

I know most of the dead werent jews, but surprisingly, its safer for jews in Israel, than in the U.S. or other countries. This would very unlikely happen there. The intelligence is tremendous. The attacks there are by individual people and are relatively small

What? There were 2 Jews killed in the attacks.

 

Try six (the number killed at the Chabad House) plus whoever was at the Taj or Oberoi. And the coroner said that the Jewish and Israeli victims were treated much more viciously before their deaths than the other victims.

 

 

Not true.

 

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid...icle%2FShowFull

 

Well, that's new.

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Not a direct attack on Jews? What dope are you smoking? You DO know that the Chabad House was in a nondescript location in the residential section of Colaba, right? You just can't walk down the street, look at a building, and say, "Yup, that's the Chabad House." The attackers had to physically go out of their way to find the address, not get caught, and not go into one of the similarly looking buildings. Anyone who doesn't think it was a direct attack on Jews is just naive.

I have said it 100x it was an attack on India and its international presence. Sure they attacked Jews also, but that was minor compared to other deaths. UK had 15, US had 6, Spain had 5, Italy had 3, India had 120. Also there were over 35! countries present in each of the hotels attacked. That was too scare the world from India. It was to take an international destination and ruin it. I am not saying the attack wasn't towards Jews as well, but in no way was that a direct attack to the Jews. It has already been basically proven it was from Pakistan. The one who surrendered had his cellphone with all contacts going to Pakistan. Like anything else it is the continued conflict between Pakistan and India. Pakistan tried to make a statement. They have the war in Waziristan, the Balochistan War, and with India in conflict with the Nagaland and the Naxalite-Maoists it makes perfect sense to make that attack when all their focus is off the border of Pakistan and in the Eastern part of the country.

 

Bulldurham is wrong, you are right. To say this was a direct attack on jews is naive 120 Indians to 6 jewish people makes bull's statement look very stupid.

 

Oh please. Was it a direct attack on Indians? Yes. Was it ALSO a direct attack on Jews? Hell yes. What else would you call an attack on a synagogue/Jewish center? You would call an attack on a Hindu temple a direct attack on Hindus, right? So DON'T pretend Jews weren't specifically targeted, because they were. Again, why else would they seek out an otherwise nondescript location? Also, why am I harping on this? Because it sends a clear signal to all Jews that we are all potential direct targets, even in our houses of worship and community centers. WHY can't you understand that?

 

That being said, I'm still wondering why Lashkar-e-Tayyibe would do that, being that they have no history vis-a-vis Jews or Israel. Was it to get "street cred" with Middle-Eastern terrorist organizations?

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It looks like it was somewhat of a direct attack on Westerners in general.

 

Anyway, now reports are saying that these terrorists came on a boat to Mumbai from Pakistan, and were trained by former Pakistani military. This is not good, considering the very nasty relations between India and Pakistan already.

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