Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai update

The death toll continues to rise with 101 death and over 300 injured. The hostages at the Taj Mahal appear to have been freed but there are still around 200 people stuck in their room at the Oberoi. There is also an Israeli rabbi and his family who are being held hostage at Nariman House, a Jewish centre.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the attacks were perpetrated by groups outside the country and that they would not tolerate "neighboring countries" that give a safe haven to terrorists, a clear reference to Pakistan. He also said the attacks were "well-planned and well-orchestrated... intended to create a sense of panic by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners". It seems the government will attempt to put the blame on Pakistan and the ISI. It does seem like it could be a possibility, given the targets and the style of the attack.

Franklin Foer over at The Plank has an interesting analysis by an Indian friend that goes in a similar direction:
An organization called the Deccan Mujahideen claims responsibility. No one has heard of them. In the multiple attacks in Ahmedabad and Delhi earlier this year, a group called the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility as revenge for the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002. But these Bombay attacks are different. The targets are not obviously Hindu at all--they are the main tourist locations in the city, and they were after Americans, British and Israelis. They went after a building called Nariman House, where several Israeli and Jewish families live. It was international, not domestic considerations which seems to be have been driving them. Also they seem very well-resourced. Apparently they came into the city on boats, used hand grenades and automatic weapons. It suggest some sort of Al Qaeda connection. But the Indians have been pretty good at tracking them. So, it is puzzling.

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