10 sites in Mumbai were taken over by brazen terrorists. A women’s and children’s hospital was one of the targets. Also targeted were American and British tourists. The radical group, Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility.
As world leaders condemn the terrorist action in India more reports of causalities are coming in. The terrorists stormed high profile hotels, hospitals and a crowded train station in a coordinated effect to kill as many as they could.
The death toll is at 87 and climbing. More than 185 people have been wounded. Nine of the attackers are among the dead.
It is now being reported that the group arrived via boats. There is no confirmed number as to how many gunmen were involved. The attacks started between 9:00 and 9:15 p.m.
The Chief Minister has been quoted as saying that around 200 National Security Guard commandos have left Delhi to flush out these men.
Top police officials are among the dead as well as 11 policemen. Mumbai Police’s “encounter specialist” Vijay Salaskar was one of those shot in a gun battle.
The 105-year-old Hotel Taj was most heavily damaged in the evening strike. At least six explosions were set off in the 5-star hotel. Many Western personalities have spent time at luxurious inn including Elvis, Mick Jagger, Bill Clinton and Prince Philip.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon is quoted by Canada News Yahoo as saying:
“Canada strongly condemns the savage terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which have left hundreds of innocent civilians injured or killed,” he said in a statement. “These cowardly attacks are truly appalling.”
“Canada and India share a commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Among our mutual priorities is close cooperation to promote international security and to fight terrorism.”
“Canada stands firmly united with the government of India in condemning these despicable acts of violence.”
President Bush has condemned the terrorists that committed these vile attacks.The Associated Press reports:
“The United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will continue to stand with the people of India in this time of tragedy,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “President Bush offers his condolences to the Indian people and the families of the innocent civilians killed and injured in the attacks.”
Recently elected Obama’s spokesman also made comments about the vicious attack:
In Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama’s national security spokeswoman, Brooke Anderson, said Obama “strongly condemns today’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and his thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the people of India. These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism.”
“The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks,” Anderson added.
The Muslim Council of Britain joined other world leaders in condemning this action. As the IHT reports:
“The brutal murder of Indians and foreign nationals is unacceptable, there is no excuse for such acts, whatever the cause may be,” the group said in a statement. Its Secretary-General, Muhammad Abdul Bari, said he extended his condolences to the bereaved.
“Many Britons have deep links with the city of Mumbai and India and I join them in this hour of sadness and anxiety.”
Britain’s Foreign Office is advising all Britons to remain indoors if they are currently in India. At this time there are no confirmed British causalities.
The Deccan Mujahideen are a largely unknown group hailing from an area of India. Breaking down their group’s name the Deccan stands for the area in India they are from and the Mujahideen is a plural form of a Muslim who acts in a jihad.
An email sent to the authorities in India shows the nature of this group. CTV reports:
“If this is the degree your arrogance has reached, and if you think that by these stunts you can scare us, then let the Indian Mujahideen warn all the people of Mumbai that whatever deadly attacks Mumbaikars will face in future, their responsibility would lie with the Mumbai ATS and their guardians,” the email reads. “You are already on our hit list and this time very, very seriously.”
Mumbai is the most prosperous city in India and also the most western appearing one. Because of this it is often the scene of terrorism acts, although nothing in its past could compare to today’s actions.
Targeting areas that are known for Western visitors is a common thread among terrorists. They want to attack in the most visible areas and spread fear. Using intelligence and organization with these attacks they are achieving their goal.
Americans concerned for family members in Mumbai have a call center number: 1-888-407-4747.