Written by By Staff Writer
Five terrorists attacked the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on the evening of 26/11. An almost 30-hour operation was then launched to kill or capture the terrorists.
Former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone was killed. Credit: Getty Images
(The bombs have since been traced to Al Qaeda — the main suspect may have been Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistani who was arrested in 2010 in Chicago.)
Here’s a look at the Mumbai attacks and what happened in the days after:
What happened on 26/11/10?
On November 26, three groups of gunmen struck the city by firing indiscriminately at railway stations, hotels and other places.
These attacks are known as the Mumbai attacks. On this date, three attacks began:
— The first (around 8:30 p.m., 29 November) was at the Deonar P Bridge railway station in the eastern suburb of Parel. Just before the attack began, panic ensued and one person was killed on the spot. By the time the rest of the operation was over, about 30 people were injured.
— The second (around 11:30 p.m., 30 November) targeted the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. A Bollywood star, late actor-director Yash Chopra, who was on his way from Paris to Mumbai with wife Pamela, stayed at the hotel during the attack. Police thwarted an attempted escape with the help of an alert waiter who alerted police. The joint explosions caused by explosives that were placed in the pantry and inside air-conditioners, led to the death of two guests. By this time, about six gunmen had taken hostages in the hotel. At 1:30 a.m., television channels started showing aerial footage of the buildings exploding.
— The third attack began around 6 a.m., 31 November, when gunmen attacked a Jewish center in south Mumbai. By the time the siege ended at 4:00 p.m., 26/11/10 was one of the most chilling days in Mumbai’s history.
In the following days, as authorities tried to uncover the identity of the attackers, it became clear that the attempted attacks were planned and executed by Al Qaeda-affiliated or affiliated Pakistani groups.
The names of the suspected perpetrators, who were later identified as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members (or “Lashkar guys”) were Omar Khalid Sheikh Ahmed (Moazzam, 27); Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (Abu Farid al Makki, 43); Hakimullah Mehsud (Izaz Ahmed Sheikh, 41); Zaki-ur-Rehman Khalil (Muhafiz Khalil, 38); Sameer Ahmed Siddiqui (Shahid Iqbal Omar, 42); Abdul Rehman Kaskar (Dhakl, 41) and Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab (Abu Usman alias Osama).
On 28 November, Makki — the alleged planner of the Mumbai attacks — was found hiding in an apartment in Lahore. The same day the Group later killed the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan in an attack in a Karachi market place. This was followed by the murder of five U.S. military personnel — two translators and three marines and a sailor — in the southwestern Pakistani city of Baluchistan in an assault on a NATO fuel convoy. A suspected Al Qaeda man was killed in another attack on a military convoy the same day.
After Makki’s arrest, authorities in Pakistan said that there was evidence tying him to Pakistani intelligence and extremist groups.
Who was responsible?
In a televised address to the nation, the country’s prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, confirmed that Lashkar and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — a Pakistani militant group — were responsible for the attacks.
Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba are based in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). TTP have connections with several Pakistani militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and other LeT terrorist organisations such as Harakat-ul Jihad Islami and the Jundullah. This is probably the reason that Mumbai became the fifth location of an attack on India in three years.
The impact of the attacks
The attacks were largely perceived in India as an act of war and fed fears that the country was coming under attack from militant groups. Since then, the government has seen an increase in security and has increased its investment in international cooperation and intelligence gathering to deal with the threat.