The Islamic terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, between November 26-29
demonstrated a new tactic, which basically consisted of a few well trained,
well informed and heavily armed terrorists running amok in the congested
downtown of a major city. The ten armed
men, in civilian clothes and carrying bags with their AK-47s, grenades, explosives
and ammunition, took cabs to, and shot up, a train station, a hospital, two
hotels and a Jewish social center. The one surviving terrorists said the plan
was to kill thousands of people, and create maximum chaos. Their plan to set
off bombs didn't work out, although they used some explosives at the two major
hotels they went to. Their plan to take lots of hostages and negotiate for the
release of jailed terrorists, did not work. The Indians refused to negotiate,
and sent in troops and commandos.
split up into four teams and began operations about 9 PM on the 26th. Four men
went to the Taj Hotel, and held out until the morning of the 29th. Two went to
the Oberoi hotel, and the shooting lasted until 8 AM on the 28th. Another two
went to Nariman house (the Jewish social center), and held out until 8:30 PM on
the 28th. Two terrorists went to a train station, killing people and setting bombs that did not
go off. These two were intercepted by police as they drove to an up-scale
residential neighborhood. One terrorist was killed, the other was taken alive
and has provided most of the details of the operation.
terrorists did major damage (mainly with bombs and fire) to two large hotels.
They killed 163 people, most of them Indian civilians, and wounded over 300. Because
of the civilians caught in the middle of all this, and the dozens held hostage
for a time, police proceeded at times as if they could resolve the hostage
situations peacefully. But the terrorists, in the end, were more about murder
and mayhem, than negotiations.
confusion, media coverage, and 60 hour duration of the operation, got the
terrorists the attention they sought. The terrorists had the element of
surprise in their favor, and they made the most of it. But counter-terror
forces have now seen this kind of attack, and are planning to make any similar
attack in their neighborhood much less effective. Pulling off a similar type
attack in the future will not likely be as successful. In any event, "success"
is relative. The casualties and violence brought more criticism to Islamic
radical groups, and is forcing Pakistan to confront its decades long support
for Islamic radicals and terrorists.