November 26, 2008

Multiple Terror Attacks Ongoing in Mumbai

The Times of India is reporting multiple terror attacks that have taken place in Mumbai, India this evening. The terrorists appear to be targeting sites popular with Westerners, including luxury hotels, a restaurant, and a train station. Some outlets are claiming that the terrorists were asking specifically where the British and Americans were.

As always, early casualty reports vary wildly and should be taken with a healthy degree of skepticism. That said, the latest figures cited are 80 killed and 250+ wounded, with as many as 40 taken hostage.

The attacks seem crude as far as the weapons and tactics used, with small teams—apparently pairs—using hand grenades and fully-automatic AK-47s, along with at least one significant backpack bomb or similar device that detonated in a taxi, ripping it in half.

As I'm watching this, Fox New television is displaying a still photo of what appears to be security camera footage of a young, clean-shaven man wearing a black tee shirt carrying a folding stock AK with two 30-round magazines taped together to facilitate quick reloading, carrying a blue backpack slung over his shoulder.

The head of India's anti-terrorism squad, Hemant Karkare, is among those killed; it is unclear if he was a target, an unfortunate bystander, or responding to the attacks.

More as this develops.

Update: IBNLive claims that fighting is still on-going at 3 hotels, and that there are seven Westerners among 15 hostages. The attacks apparently began between 10:15-10:30 PM.

A report in Canada's National Post says the group claiming responsibility is the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen. They also claimed responsibility for a serial of bombs in Assam that claimed almost 80 lives.

Update: Based upon what we're seeing filter through various media outlets thus far, the sites selected and the coordination of the attacks suggests a well-planned and researched attack, using a minimum number of terrorists per target, using common and relatively inexpensive military small arms.

They seem to be getting maximum effect in terms of disrupting Mumbai and creating carnage and chaos at the outlay of what seems to be less than two dozen total terrorists and the small arms they carried. I have no idea who the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen are, but this strike appears to be the work of professionals with military and intelligence skills.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 26, 2008 03:34 PM

Looks to me that they had to choose soft targets outside of the AO of the American military. It's just too dangerous for them to take on Americans, that gets them killed too quickly. They also have to target civilians, because they know tourists will be unarmed. Shows their basic cowardly nature and stupidity. They probably haven't figured out that they're dead meat already.....just still walking around.

Posted by: Tonto (USA) at November 26, 2008 07:14 PM

i smell the ISI in all this..... if so, the only thing that will save Pakistan is the fact that they're upwind of India, and that might not matter if the Indians get mad enough.

Posted by: redc1c4 at November 26, 2008 07:17 PM

We have, no doubt, been good, but also lucky in preventing similar attacks in America. A large part of our good fortune is certainly the fact that we've killed thousands of those who would otherwise be hot to trot to kill Americans in America in Iraq and various other foreign hell-holes.

And yes, when--not if--they attack vulnerable places in America, we might be able to stop them a bit earlier than the citizens and authorities in other countries, but no one should have any doubt about what a couple of committed terrorists with automatic weapons and a few hand grenades or other explosives can accomplish in a very short time if they choose their killing grounds wisely. The casualty count in such incidents can easily run into the hundreds.

We should also have no doubt that he who currently occupies the ephemeral Office of the President Elect, when such terrorist atrocities occur, will do his best to respond forcefully, by trying to take firearms out of the hands of honest, capable Americans, and demanding that they show restraint.

Posted by: Mike at November 26, 2008 09:09 PM

Your capacity to make the suffering of others All About You is pretty stunning, Mike.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and the people of India tonight.

Posted by: blucas! at November 26, 2008 09:44 PM

We'll see plenty of leftist apologists for the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, have a great holiday!

Posted by: Americaneocon at November 27, 2008 01:28 AM

Thanks to our Political Correctness an open immigration laws there is no telling how many of these peaceful types are within our mist. They work with us , shop with us and when we least expect it they will kill us.

Posted by: Fearless at November 27, 2008 08:49 AM

From original post: "The attacks seem crude as far as the weapons and tactics used,"

From the update: "the sites selected and the coordination of the attacks suggests a well-planned and researched attack, using a minimum number of terrorists per target, using common and relatively inexpensive military small arms."

I agree with the second, not with the first. "Simple" and "crude" are not synonymous.

Posted by: wolfwalker at November 27, 2008 08:50 AM

If this does have the fingerprints of the ISI over it, what will India do? Heck, what can India do? Go to war with Pakistan, a nuclear power?

India appears to take these repeated attacks by Muslims without lashing out at either their home base in Pakistan or their various home bases in India at mosques/Muslim community. But attacks like this, designed to strike at the economic base of India by frightening foreigners from visiting/doing business there, might change things.

It will be very revealing to see how the Indians deal with the consequences of this vicious and cruel attack.

Posted by: iconoclast at November 27, 2008 12:30 PM

Reports from 1030CST lean toward Paki involvement; Indian navy intercepted the delivery-ship on its retreat from Bombay.

Israelis, Americans, British citizens seem to be the objective(s).

Posted by: dad29 at November 27, 2008 12:51 PM

I certainly hope that we don't torture any survivors. That would be horrible.

Posted by: David at November 28, 2008 03:11 PM

Radio reports indicate they had inside help, knew the layout better even than some of the hotel workers (and which backdoor was open), and stashed weapons and ammo in advance. That's Beslan style stuff.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at November 28, 2008 07:31 PM

"The attacks seem crude as far as the weapons and tactics used..."

This seems accurate to me. The Op planners could be reasonably sure that few or none of these terrorists would survive the operation. You don't send your best men into certain death, you send motivated cannon fodder. The planning and target selection might have been done by thoughtful individuals but the execution of the attack would have been kept very simple, and indeed it was.

This operation is flashy because of the coordinated hits on multiple targets but it is not difficult. The orders to the terrorists would have been very simple, enter building X at such a time, move to your designated position and kill anyone you see. This is the kind of instruction someone with basic weapons skills can carry out. There is no evidence that we have seen yet of highly skilled personnel actually taking part in the wet work.

Posted by: Phil S at November 29, 2008 12:00 PM

Sad as this is, it serves as a brutal reminder that with Obama in charge, things will not change globally. Terrorism will continue and he has to address that. Let's see what happens and in the meantime, be safe!

Posted by: Left Coast Conservative at December 1, 2008 11:08 PM