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2008 Mumbai Terror attacks

Important note about this page: News stories below are not in any specific order.

Mumbai experienced a worst terrorist attack at seven major locations in the city on the night of Wednesday November 26, 2008 when a series of synchronised terror strikes hit the finance capital of India killing 164 and injuring at least 308. This is the eight major bomb attack in India in 2008. A terrorist outfit Deccan Mujahideen claimed the responsibility for the activity. The blasts are the worst in Mumbai since the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that killed 257 and injured over 700 people.

The firefighting between Indian security forces and the militants went on fiercly particularly at the Oberoi Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. As many five explositions are heard within five minutes of the Army taking charge of the site. A three layer joint operation involving the Maharashtra Police, Indian Army and the National Security Guard are involved in the operations at the hotel site. All Taj Hotel hostages are rescued earlier. The clashes between the security forces and the terrorists looked like those of the scenes in the movies Die Hard and A Wednesday. Fire flared up at the old wing of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel making the situation more worse. Few experts say the fire scene is an intentional distractor by the terrorists. The Taj Hotel is under Government control but Nariman House and the Oberai Hotel are still under hostage by terrorists. Black Cat commandos are continuing their operations to storm into the buildings.

Contents

Friday, November 28, 2008 8:30 AM

Two blasts are heard on the early hours of Friday, November 28, 2008. Later in the morning, NSG Commandos are air dropped using a helicopter as the stair care at the Nariman House is narrow preventing entry of the commandos. A helicopter moved through the area atleast three times. One commando is believed to be injured. It is unsure if he was injured during taking position or during clashes with the terrorists. Eight persons are belived to be held up in the Nariman House building. The building is popular amongst the Israeli community as the Chabad House. Jewish Centre Rabbi is still believed to be inside the building.

SEBI said that the Indian stock markets will open today but will review the situation just before opening time to take further decision. NSG DG is reviewing the operations from a chopper. A television channel reported that NSG would be completing the operation by 2 PM today. Local people say the terrorists rented house near Nariman House months before.

Friday, November 28, 2008 9:55 AM

Blasts of minor intensity are reported at the Trident hotel.

About 15 people are believed to be still trapped inside Taj Hotel. 7 militants reportedly killed in Taj operation

Friday, November 28, 2008 10:10 AM

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi visited Mumbai saying he can’t stay away from Mumbai and has come to extend moral support. He blamed Pakistan for the attacks saying Pakistan has violated UN conventions and announced Rs. 1 crore to the kin of the slain security men. He spoke with the media outside the Oberoi hotel.

BSE, NSE resumed trading today.

Friday, November 28, 2008 11:40 AM IST

Taj new building flushed out. Smoke still seen at the Taj Hotel dome. Few hostages still believed to be inside the hotel.

30 hostages freed, many foreigners comes out safe

NSG Commandos takes position at Nariman house. Fresh gun firing at Nariman House

People flock upstairs of surrounding buildings to witness action.

Friday, November 28, 2008 2:45 PM IST

  • Taj, Oberoi completely sanitizes each and every room; Under NSG control
  • Taj, Oberoi operations completed
  • Chinese made grenades, AK-47 recovered
  • Team from FBI and British security agency on way to Mumbai
  • 6 dead bodies, 2 of them believed to be of terrrorists, brought out of Taj
  • Pranabh Mukherjee says primary evidence suggests Pak group involvement
  • Satellite phone recovered from a dead terrorist
  • Attack on media at Taj Hotel
  • Over 50 hostages rescued at Oberoi

Friday, November 28, 2008 6:28 PM IST

Mission accomplished; NSG Commands takes control of Nariman house. Takes control of the building floor by floor. Terrorists inside believed to have been killed in the operations. Police controlling crowds outside the Nariman house. Atleast 4 terrorists shot dead inside the Nariman house. NSG Commandos still inside the building. Media people allowed near to the big. Mumbai Police Commissioner says 24 bodies recovered today and 6 yesterday from Oberoi. Narrow stair cases made the Nariman House rescue operation extremely difficult. No information of bystanders being injured in the operation.

Friday, November 28, 2008 6:52:09 PM IST

Fresh fire reported from the 1st floor of Taj Hotel. Commandos take position. Grenede lobbed from the Taj. Media people asked to step a bit backward again. Security personnel vehicles rushing inside the lane of the Nariman house. Police personnel says the operation is in ‘final stages’ but ‘not yet over’. Three, including a journalist from AFP (an international media outlet) injured at Taj. 5 hostages killed at Nariman. NSG DG says last floor to be taken into control. 2 terrorists killed at Nariman house. 3 more exchanging fire with commandos as they get to the 4th floor.

Friday, November 28, 2008 7:21 PM IST

NSG Commandoes combing on the 3rd floor at Nariman. Lights near the Taj put down as commandoes continue their operations there. Atleast 1 terrorist is believed to be moving from Ground floor and First floor switching on-off the lights of the building.

Friday, November 28, 2008 7:38:17 PM IST

One stretcher is taken inside the Taj. A person is brought out and taken away in an ambulance. Climate in the region changes with signs of possible drizzle. Hundreds of people comes nearer to the Nariman building.

Friday, November 28, 2008 7:52:07 PM IST

Three gun shots heard at the Nariman house. Fire exchange continues at Taj. More than one terrorist likely inside the Taj. Operation seems to be not yet over.

Friday, November 28, 2008 8:39:29 PM IST

Television media channels say terrorists used sophesticated communication devices to stay in touch with their heads. The list also included usage of Blackberries. Further, atleast 3 telephones calls before and 2 after the first capture of the Taj hotel are made to Karachi which shows a link between the operatives and the Pakistan.

Friday, November 28, 2008 8:58:57 PM IST

DG of NSG confirms having clearing Nariman house. No more dead bodies recovered.

Friday, November 28, 2008 10:10:20 PM IST

Television media channels are reporting more information about militants.

Group of terrorists stayed in Karachi for 4 days

Communication made from telephones was actually to Lashkar commander

Coast Guard, on November 18, picked up hints of possible use of water route by militants

About 8 to 10 boats are used by 40 � 50 militants to enter into Mumbai

Friday, November 28, 2008 10:26:57 PM IST

Operation at Nariman house over. 1 NSG Officer and 1 NSG Soldier killed in the operation.

15 policemen lost lives in the operations so far.

Exchange of fire still on at Hotel Taj

Saturday, November 29, 2008 7:06:13 AM IST

Operation at Taj still under way. Huge army troops deployed in the region. Detonators placed under bodies of dead defused. Terrorist lobs granades from inside.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 8:41:19 AM IST

Two terrorists gunned down in the last battle at Taj. Taj hotel completely under control. Fire tenders on job putting down fire. Taj Hotel handed over to Mumbai police. Sanitisation process on way. 59 hours of battle comes to an end.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 8:49:20 AM IST

Official death toll at 156 and is likely to increase. Doctors and Medical professionals from across Maharashtra called up to speed up post-mortem process so that the dead bodies can be handed over to their relatives quickly. Relatives asked to visit hospital with valid proof of identity to claim a body. Policemen in large numbers approaches the Taj building to recover dead bodies from inside the Taj. Director General of NSG, JK Dutt briefed the media about the operation at the Taj Hotel this morning. Says operation not yet over. Thorough checking of the premises on way. Three terrorists gunned down in the last few hours of the battle. AK-47 was recovered from the place. A bomb was defused.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:55 AM IST

Bomb Detection Squad of the Indian Army at the Oberoi House conducting bomb detection and defusement operation. Santisation process still on at Taj. Management of Taj Hotel allowed access to the Hotel. To assist the security forces.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Two live bombs are identified and defused at the CST Railway station.

Locations where attacks took place

  • Metro Cinema
  • Oberoi Hotel
  • Victoria Terminus
  • Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
  • Leopold Café

While the terrorist activity is seen all across Southern Mumbai, the selection of major activity is done in a strategic manner. The terrorists have chosen posh luxury hotels and regions where the stay and movement of foreigners and other high profile personalities is usually high. The region is few kilometers away from the residences of ministers. All this points out that the terrorist want to make a big impact and gain quick international attention out of their acitivities.

Deaths & Injuries

An estimated 125 people are killed and 327 injured in the attacks. Taj Hotel sources say that atleast 5 of its chefs are killed. Many hotel staff, including senior hotel management are at the hotel at the time of the attacks. The wife and three children of the General Manager of the hotel were amongst those killed. Speaking with the press, Ratan Tata said that the militants are freely moving inside the hotel indicating they know the hotel plan well and that the attack was well planned and master minded.

Dead bodies scattered all over in pools of blood are located at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal. A body of a man was located in a small boat off the Mumbai coast and is believed to be of one of those involved in the terror strikes.

Two Australians are confirmed dead. Brett Taylor, 49, a timber marchant from Turramurra, Sydney North Shore, and Doug Markell, 71, a former deputy mayor at Woollahra Council, Sydney East. Australian media reports two more are dead. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said that up to 26 are in the two hotels where the terrorist activity occured. Television star Brooke Satchwell is among several Australians trapped in Mumbai. Satchwell managed to catch a flight to Singapore along with her boy friend David Gross. Earlier on Nov 27, Six members of the New South Wales (NSW) Department of State and Regional Development are reported to be unaccounted for in Mumbai.

Two Candana nationals are said to have been injured while six others are still trapped as hostage. One of the injured but safe is actor Michael Rudder.

47 New Zealanders are believed to be iregistered as being in the Mumbai area at the time of the incident. The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said that attempts are made to contact them. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said relatives can call 04 439 8000 for information in this regard.

As many as seven South African nationals are believed to be trapped in the Oberai Hotel.

Anil Gunness, CEO of the State Bank of Mauritius was killed in the attack at Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. He is on a business trip and is one month away from retirement.

Targeted towards foreigners?

The terrorists at the hotel are believed to have said, Put your hand up if you’re British or American. The hostages were marched off to undisclosed locations within the hotel. 40 British and other foreigners are believed to be inside the hotel at the time of the incident. According to the sources, the terrorists looked for people with British or American passports. However, Maharashtra Chief Minister said they have no clear information if the attacks are targeted at foreigners.

Prime Minister visits Mumbai hospitals

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reviewed the condition of the injured at the JJ hospital. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Opposition leader Advani also visited the hospitals in Mumbai.

Deccan Mujahideen

A little known terrorist outfit Deccan Mujahideen claimed the responsibility for the blasts by sending an e-mail to news organisations. One of the gunmen has told a television channel that he belonged to an Indian Islamist group that is seeking an end to the persecution of Indian Muslims. Two terrorists, Shadullah and Imran Babar, rang up India TV twice during the siege on Thursday using cellphones of their hostages to place their points of view. Claiming to have worked as a medical representative in a multinational company, Babar said the attacks were to avenge “torture and injustice”.

A senior army officer involved in the army operations at the hotel site said that the terrorist are conversing in Punjabi language and pretend to be belonging to Hyderabad.

Western intelligence experts says had all the markings of a strategy designed by the Osama-bin Laden-led al Qaeda and picked on vulnerable Western “soft targets” but not in a country where there would be maximum security such as India where they have sufficient resources to carry out an attack on this scale.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the militants are from outside India indirectly pointing fingers at Pakistan. Pakistan denied any involvement.

David Coleman Headley

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley has helped plan 2008 attacks in Mumbai. As of 2015, he is serving a 35-year term at an undisclosed US prison for the attacks that killed 166 people. As part of plea bargain Headley made with US courts in 2010, in return for cooperating with the authorities completely, Headley is granted immunity from the death penalty and protection from extradition to face trial in a foreign country. However his testimony can help prosecute Jundal.

In June 2010, Headley was interrogated by officials from India's National Investigating Agency for seven days where he was said to have cooperated fully.

On 10 December 2015, a local court has pardoned David Headley and accepted him as a prosecution witness. This will help the prosecution help nail Abu Jundal, another key accused in the case.

Abu Jundal

Abu Jundal is another key planner of the attacks. He is extradited from Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Entry of terrorists into Mumbai

Coast Guard officials have reportedly found a ship, M V Alpha, a Vietnamese registered ship, which is believed to have been used to ferry terrorists from Gujarat into Mumbai ahead of the blasts. The ship is being searched and two aircraft, choppers are used to scour the area near the ship. The Indian Navy is on high alert following the Mumbai terror strike. The chief of Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Sunil Damle told reporters onboard INS Tir that there is a possibility that few of the terrorists may have escaped through the sea route after the attacks, and added that Indian Navy has already started investigating the issue.

Stock markets closed for Novemeber 27, 2008

Earlier in the morning of Thursday, November 27, 2008, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange, Commodities exchange, money market and many smaller stock exchanges across the country had a no trading day since the situation is panicky even before the stock markets opened for trading. Kingfisher Airways said it has reduced its morning flights from Mumbai in the wake of attacks after few ticket cancellations are reported.

Indian reactions

President Pratibha Patil

President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil condemned the series of bomb blasts and said Such acts are highly condemnable. The President who is on visit to Indonesia has cut short her visit to Indonesia and headed to Mumbai to visit relatives of the police officials and survivors.

Vice President Ansari

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari expressed deep shock at the scale of the attacks and said Such terrorist acts are aimed at destabilizing the nation and urged all citizens to unite in this critical hour.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s address to the nation

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in his address to the nation (Read: Text of PM address to the nation) said that terror strikes are done as an act to destabilise nation and assured the countrymen that no guilty person behind the terror attacks would escape punishment. He emphasised the need to set up a Federal Investigation Agency immediately to handle terrorism in the country. He saluted the courage and patriotism of the police officers, including the Chief of the Anti-Terror Squad, Shri Hemant Karkare and men who have laid down their lives in fighting these terrorists.

LK Advani

Leader of Opposition Lal Krishan Advani said, “Terrorism is a global menace. Mumbai being the economic center of the country is chosen by terrorists”. Dr. Manmohan Singh and LK Advani will be together visiting Mumbai after the former called upon Advani and asked him to reschedule his visit and join him. He appealed to the people of the country to stay united, calm and maintain communal harmony at a difficult time, especially when the nation has been stuck by a terror attack.

Meanwhile, Senior BJP Leader Arun Shourie blamed the government for not coming out with a strong anti-terror law in the country.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s updates

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh earlier in the morning of Thursday, November 27, 2008 told the media that the terrorists came in boats and struck at 10 places but their number is not known immediately. The terror attacks began between 9 pm and 9.15 pm (of November 26) with indiscriminate firing and bomb blasts. At least two sten guns have been recovered from the terrorists, the Chief Minister said. To a question, he said it was not immediately known as to who was involved in the attacks as the entire police force is concentrating on saving lives. He said around 200 National Security Guard (NSG) commandos had been dispatched from Delhi for the operation to flush out terrorists.

Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi in her message said We shall not allow such incidents to deter our firm resolve to combat terror in all its manifestations….India’s one billion people have the strength and courage to defend themselves against the assault on its unity and secular fabric.

Rahul Gandhi

Congress party general secretary Rahul Gandhi addressing a party rally said: This is the time to remain united to face the challenge of terrorism

Other reactions

Rata N Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons and chairman of Indian Hotels Co, which owns the Taj hotel in Mumbai, called for unity to fight terror and said: We cannot replace the lives that have been lost and we will never forget the terrifying events of last night, but we must stand together, shoulder to shoulder as citizens of India, and rebuild what has been destroyed.

All India Minorities Front National President S M. Asif termed the Mumbai terror attacks as a cowardice act of anti-Islamic persons because there is no room for terrorism in Islam.

International reaction

  • United States of America: US President-elect Barack Obama condemned the attacks saying, United States must work to strengthen ties with India and other nations to ‘root out and destroy terrorist networks’. Obama kept himself updated on the hostage situation and received regular intelligence briefings and spoke to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The U.S. State Department statement said, We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Mumbai. Our sympathies go out to the families and friends of those killed and injured, and to the people of Mumbai. US senator John Mccain made a stopover visit to New Delhi showing solidarity with India. Obamas adviser on South Asian affairs, Bruce Riedel termed the attackers were professionals and had links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen made a brief visit to India during December 08.
  • United Kingdom: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the attacks in Mumbai as ‘outrageous’ and warned that such attacks will be met with a ‘vigorous response’. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband condemned the attacks and said, Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed and injured. The UK and India will continue their joint efforts to counter the actions of terrorists.
  • Australia: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the attackers absolute cowards and murderers. He said, This latest attack on Indian peace, stability and democracy reminds us again of the need to remain forever vigilant. The Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had reissued travel advice for India, warning that Australians should avoid travelling to Mumbai at this time.
  • Canada: Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon in a statement said, Canada strongly condemns the savage terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which have left hundreds of innocent civilians injured or killed. These cowardly attacks are truly appalling. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the ‘despicable and cowardly attacks’ and offered support.
  • Pakistan: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in his message said, We condemn these attacks. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan offers support to India in probing the attacks. Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain termed the act as naked terrorism and said that the people of Pakistan and every peace loving person severely condemns these attacks.
  • Iran termed the incident an ‘evil acts’.
  • Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma termed the attacks ‘despicable and barbaric’.
  • European Union initiated crisis coordination measures and gets prepared to send humanitarian aid to Mumbai.

Maharashtra political developments due to the attacks

Maharashtra Industries Minister Ashok Chavan name came up after Vilasrao Deshmukh decided to resign from the Maharashtra Chief Minister post owing to moral reasons.

Post-blast investigations

The Kolkata Police has issued a notification directing the house owners to maintain a complete database of tenants. The Police has requested the West Bengal Government to comeup with a special anti-insurgenct commando force. A Pakistani young man believed to have links with the terrorists has been detained at Lucknow.

Forensic experts and Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) has confirmed several slain Jews were tortured in the attacks.

Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured in the attacks is treated and information from him is in the process of being recovered.

Quotes on Mumbai terror attacks

NSG Operations

Despite being a small group, the NSG has played an important role in the entire operation. With the success of its operation, the NSG decided to include its Mumbai anti-terror lessons in its training schedule.

January 16, 2009

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called on Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Nawaz Sharif and said there is need for the Pakistani authorities to showcase urgency in taking action against those responsible for the attacks.

Updates in September 09

Mumbai terror attacks in recent news

On September 19, 2009, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik rejected India’s sixth dossier saying Pakistan wants more proof against Hafiz Saeed is not enough to arrest or prosecute in a court of law. On September 21, 2009, Saeed is placed under house arrest. Pakistani authorities have also barred him from leading Eid prayers. On September 21, 09, Chidambaram said Saeed should be interrogated for 26/11 attacks. Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries and External Affairs Ministers discussed about progress in Mumbai terror attacks in New York.

Updates in November 09

On November 20, 09, personnel of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) platoon who were deployed at the Gateway of India in Mumbai to guard the Taj Mahal Hotel - one of the prime targets of the terror attacks, were sent back to their barracks. With less than a week to go before the first anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Defence Minister Antony reviewed the security scenario in the country in a high level meeting. Stressing that pending issues between India and Pakistan should be resolved amicably by both countries, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that a resumption of bilateral talks is very important.

When bullets were flying thick and fast at Cama Hospital on the night of 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, a girl was born in the hospital. Her parents have aptly named her Goli (Bullet) in memory of the bullet shots fired.

First anniversary of 26/11 attacks

The first anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack was observed on November 26, 2009. Prayers and candle-light vigil are being held in Mumbai and various parts of the country to pay homage to the victims on the ocasssion. Ms. Sonia Gandhi has said that the country has come out stronger learning many tough lessons from the strikes.

With the first anniversary of the Mumbai massacre approaching, some of the unsung heroes of the 26/11 attacks recalled their experiences.

Second anniversary of 26/11 attacks

The Indian Parliament paid tributes to the martyrs of 26/11. Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar said the horrific memories of the tragic attack were still etched in the minds. Rajya Sabha speaker Mohammed Hamid Ansari condemned the attacks and said such incidents have firmed our resolve to fight terrorism.

Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday said that 26/11 Mumbai terror attack was a grim reminder of the perilous state of our neighbourhood.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram paid tribute to those killed in the 26/11 terror attacks by laying a wreath at the martyrs’ memorial at the Police Gymkhana in South Mumbai.

External Affairs minister SM Krishna called upon Pakistan to punish the perpetrators.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that his Government would redouble efforts to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack to justice.

2013 Timeline

India has sent a fresh Letter Rogatory to Morocco for questioning of Faiza Outalha, estranged wife of Pakistani-American David Headley. The letter is yet another attempt to expose the role of Pakistanis in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Jan 20, 2013

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500 Indian Sikh devotees going to Pak for Guru Nanak’s death anniversary
About 500 Indian Sikh devotees are going to Pakistan to attend events marking Guru Nanak Devs 471st death anniversary. ANI

US firms set to pitch for homeland security business in India
With the Indian Government moving rapidly to improve and augment its homeland security infrastructure, American companies are hoping to be the first to be called in for providing modern surveillance systems, sophisticated mine detectors, anti-hacking software and guns etc. ANI

Salman Khan apologies for remarks on Mumbai terror attacks
Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Sunday evening apologised for his controversial remarks about November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks made during an interview with a Pakistan channel. ANI

Salman Khan invites flak over ’Mumbai terror attack remark
As Dabbang makes an impressive beginning at the box office, its main hero, Salman Khan, has courted an unwanted controversy again by speaking insensitively about the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that had left over 166 people dead and over 300 others injured. ANI

Mumbai ATS nabs two German Bakery blast suspects
The Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested two people in connection with the blast that ripped Punes German Bakery on February 13 this year. ANI

Pak says Indian reply to its queries on Headley ‘hardly relevant’
Pakistan is not satisfied with the Indian reply to about 50 questions related to terror suspect David Coleman Headley, which were sent to New Delhi last month. ANI

Indian judge says police promoting links between sport betting rings, organised crime
An additional sessions judge of the Indian judiciary has said police are promoting links between organised crime and sports, specifically cricket. ANI

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