Scores Dead, Wounded; Tourists Held Hostage In Coordinated Mumbai Terror Strikes - Page 3 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-30-2008, 07:11 AM   #31
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:05 PM   #32
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My relatives are ok, thank God. Just badly shaken.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:40 PM   #33
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Yikes. I'll bet.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:20 AM   #34
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Man, hearing the survivors accounts of what happened is just awful. It truly is a blessing there are any survivors at all.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:38 PM   #35
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In Wake of Attacks, India-Pakistan Tensions Grow

By ROBERT F. WORTH
New York Times, December 1



MUMBAI, India — In a new sign of rising tensions between two nuclear-armed neighbors, Indian officials summoned Pakistan’s ambassador Monday evening and told him that Pakistani nationals were responsible for the terrorist attacks here last week and that they must be punished. With public anger building against both the Indian government and Pakistan, officials of India’s Foreign Ministry also suggested that the planners of the attacks are still at large in Pakistan, and that they expected “strong action would be taken” by Pakistan against those responsible for the violence, according to a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs. Nine of the 10 men who appear to have carried out the attacks are now dead, with the remaining one in custody. The statement added tartly that Pakistan’s actions “needed to match the sentiments expressed by its leadership that it wishes to have a qualitatively new relationship with India.”

It was not clear whether India had supplied Pakistan with any proof of its claims. Pakistani officials have said they are not aware of any links to Pakistan-based militants, and that they would act swiftly if they found one.

The Indian government is facing strong criticism at home for its handling of the attacks, in which 173 people were killed over three bloody days here in the country’s financial capital. (The authorities revised the number downward on Monday, saying that some names had been counted twice.) With elections just months away the government needs to be seen as acting decisively in the face of the atrocities. But it could be accused of raising a red herring if it does not furnish convincing evidence for its claims of Pakistani involvement.

There is also a groundswell of popular anger here aimed at Pakistan, and the attacks have raised tensions between the two countries to a level not seen since 2001, when a suicide attack on the Indian parliament pushed them to the brink of war. The ominous atmosphere poses a special challenge for the United States, a strong ally of India that also depends on Pakistan for cooperation in fighting Al Qaeda. Renewed tensions between India and Pakistan could distract Pakistan from that project.
President Bush has dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India, where she is expected to arrive on Wednesday. Speaking in London on Monday, she called on Pakistan in blunt terms “to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” adding “I don’t want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation.”

India’s assertion that the attackers were all Pakistani echoes a claim by the one attacker who was captured alive, identified as Ajmal Amir Qasab, said Inspector Rakesh Maria, head of the crime control bureau at the Mumbai police, in a news conference. Mr. Qasab also said he was a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Islamist group blamed for terrorist attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir and elsewhere, Inspector Maria said. However, no foreign identification documents were found, and some of the attackers had fake Indian papers, he added. Inspector Maria also said there were only 10 attackers in all, denying earlier suggestions by public officials that there were more actual attackers. However, it remains unclear whether the militants had at least some accomplices on the ground before the violence began on Wednesday night.

Some new details emerged Monday about the difficulties faced by the Indian police commandos who responded to the killings here last week. The attackers used grenades to booby trap some of the bodies in the two hotels where they struck, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower and the Oberoi, so they would explode when they were moved, Inspector Maria said. It was not always clear, he added, whether the people were dead or just wounded. That tactic made fighting the attackers more difficult, and significantly delayed the cleanup after the violence ended, Inspector Maria said. The last militants were routed on Saturday morning, but the Taj was not returned to the control of its owners until Monday morning.

But those details seemed unlikely to blunt the rising public anger at the government’s handling of the attacks, which have been widely described here as India’s version of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The ease with which the small band of attackers mowed down civilians in downtown Mumbai and then repelled police commandos for days in several different buildings, has exposed glaring weaknesses in India’s intelligence and enforcement abilities. Indian intelligence officials issued at least one warning about a possible attack on the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, but that was in September. Security was increased for a while and then relaxed, intelligence officials said. There were reports of many other unheeded warnings, but it was not clear how many were actually communicated.

On Monday, the rising public outcry pushed the chief minister of Maharashtra State, Vilasrao Deshmukh, a member of the governing Congress Party, to offer his resignation. Party leaders were still considering his offer Monday night. “I accept moral responsibility for the terror attacks,” he said at a news conference. Earlier in the day, his deputy, R.R. Patil, officially stepped down. The two gestures came a day after India’s highest-ranking domestic security official, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, resigned, saying he took responsibility for the failure to forestall or quickly contain the three-day killing spree. His successor as home minister, Paliniappan Chidambaram, the former finance chief, briefly addressed reporters on Monday, promising to respond vigorously to the terrorist threat. “This is the threat to the very idea of India, the very soul of India, the India that we know, the India that we love—namely a secular, plural, tolerant and open society,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that ultimately the idea of India will triumph.”

Also on Monday, mourners attended an emotional funeral for a Jewish couple who were murdered at Nariman House, a Jewish outreach center the terrorists took over during their bloody rampage. The couple’s orphaned two year-old son, Moshe Holtzberg, cried out for his parents, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, from Brooklyn, and his Israeli wife, Rivka Holtzberg, 28. The boy, carrying a small orange inflatable basketball, first cried “Dada” and then inconsolably “Imma,” which means Mama in Hebrew, as he accompanied his grieving grandparents and dignitaries, including Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, at a synagogue memorial service. “The house they built here in Mumbai will live with them,” said Shimon Rosenberg, Rivka’s father, his voice breaking. “They were the mother and father of the Jewish community in Mumbai.”

Later in the day, thousands of Mumbai residents gathered on the seaside esplanade facing the Taj, where they stared sadly at the black smoke marks marring the building’s stately Victorian architecture. Some chanted “long live India!” and held up banners proclaiming their defiance. Others placed candles and flowers on makeshift memorials to the dead. “I never knew what terrorism was as a kid,” said Mahesh Bhatt, a 36-year-old former Indian Navy officer who now works for a shipping company. “Now, it’s become part of our lives. We can’t continue like this. Something must be done.”





(Ruth Fremson/New York Times)
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:42 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Babydoll View Post
My relatives are ok, thank God. Just badly shaken.
babydoll & relatives........
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:43 AM   #37
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it keeps getting worse.


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Mumbai attacks: Jews tortured before being executed during hostage crisis

Israeli hostages killed by Islamic terrorists during the attacks on Mumbai (formerly Bombay) were tortured by their captors before they were bound together and killed, according to officials in both countries.

By Damien McElroy in Bombay
Last Updated: 7:52AM GMT 02 Dec 2008

Jewish victims made up a disproportionate number of the foreigners killed after 10 Muslim fanatics stormed a series of sites in the Indian financial capital.

Members of the beleaguered Jewish community in Mumbai gathered at a crumbling synagogue for a memorial for Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who ran the cultural centre targeted by the Deccan Mujahideen.

The couple's son, Moshe survived after his nanny, Sandra Samuel escaped with him in her arms 10 hours after the hostage incident started. The child cried "Ima" and "Dada," or mummy and daddy, as the service began.

Moshe's grandparents have arrived from Israel to take the orphaned boy home and there is intense pressure to grant Miss Samuel a visa by declaring her righteous among the gentiles.

Two countries have posted officials at the JJ Hospital morgue but there are at least twice as many Israeli disaster specialists as British consuls representing the former colonial power.

Israeli officials confirmed six Jews were dead but the figure is likely to rise to eight. The total number of foreigners killed in the attacks stands at 22.

A forensic team arrived on a specially chartered flight on Sunday night. "There are still a few yet to be identified – not a lot, under five – and this is why we need the forensic team," an Israeli diplomat said. "And there are two or three Israelis unaccounted for and we have a couple of bodies that could be them."

Doctors expressed horror at the condition of the bodies recovered from the Nariman Building, which housed the Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch retreat.

"I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was traumatised," a mortician said. "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood."

The group that stormed Bombay's most famous institutions displayed unrestrained brutality throughout the mission. The captain of a fishing trawler hijacked by the group in Arabian Sea was found with his throat cut.

Police said 17 victims were pushed against a wall in the corridor of the Oberoi hotel and executed in a line.

One man who served a glass of water to a terrorist at Bombay's main railway station was shot in the forehead.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:30 PM   #38
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Sigh.... and we are supposed emphasize unity.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:29 PM   #39
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Pakistani President Zardari has the lead op-ed in today's New York Times :

Quote:
The Terrorists Want to Destroy Pakistan, Too

By ASIF ALI ZARDARI

The recent death and destruction in Mumbai, India, brought to my mind the death and destruction in Karachi on Oct. 18, 2007, when terrorists attacked a festive homecoming rally for my wife, Benazir Bhutto. Nearly 150 Pakistanis were killed and more than 450 were injured. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai may be a news story for most of the world. For me it is a painful reality of shared experience. Having seen my wife escape death by a hairbreadth on that day in Karachi, I lost her in a second, unfortunately successful, attempt two months later.

The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan’s new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated. Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root.

To foil the designs of the terrorists, the two great nations of Pakistan and India, born together from the same revolution and mandate in 1947, must continue to move forward with the peace process. Pakistan is shocked at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We can identify with India’s pain. I am especially empathetic. I feel this pain every time I look into the eyes of my children.

Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks. But we caution against hasty judgments and inflammatory statements. As was demonstrated in Sunday’s raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers. Not only are the terrorists not linked to the government of Pakistan in any way, we are their targets and we continue to be their victims.

India is a mature nation and a stable democracy. Pakistanis appreciate India’s democratic contributions. But as rage fueled by the Mumbai attacks catches on, Indians must pause and take a breath. India and Pakistan—and the rest of the world—must work together to track down the terrorists who caused mayhem in Mumbai, attacked New York, London and Madrid in the past, and destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September. The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization.

These militants did not arise from whole cloth. Pakistan was an ally of the West throughout the cold war. The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a superpower. The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic. Pakistan continues to pay the price: the legacy of dictatorship, the fatigue of fanaticism, the dismemberment of civil society and the destruction of our democratic infrastructure. The resulting poverty continues to fuel the extremists and has created a culture of grievance and victimhood.

The challenge of confronting terrorists who have a vast support network is huge; Pakistan’s fledgling democracy needs help from the rest of the world. We are on the frontlines of the war on terrorism. We have 150,000 soldiers fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their extremist allies along the border with Afghanistan—far more troops than NATO has in Afghanistan. Nearly 2000 Pakistanis have lost their lives to terrorism in this year alone, including 1400 civilians and 600 security personnel ranging in rank from ordinary soldier to three-star general. There have been more than 600 terrorism-related incidents in Pakistan this year. The terrorists have been set back by our aggressive war against them in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Pashtun-majority areas bordering Afghanistan. Six hundred militants have been killed in recent attacks, hundreds by Pakistani F-16 jet strikes in the last two months.

Terrorism is a regional as well as a global threat, and it needs to be battled collectively. We understand the domestic political considerations in India in the aftermath of Mumbai. Nevertheless, accusations of complicity on Pakistan’s part only complicate the already complex situation. For India, Pakistan and the United States, the best response to the Mumbai carnage is to coordinate in counteracting the scourge of terrorism. The world must act to strengthen Pakistan’s economy and democracy, help us build civil society and provide us with the law enforcement and counterterrorism capacities that will enable us to fight the terrorists effectively.

Benazir Bhutto once said that democracy is the best revenge against the abuses of dictatorship. In the current environment, reconciliation and rapprochement is the best revenge against the dark forces that are trying to provoke a confrontation between Pakistan and India, and ultimately a clash of civilizations.
He's sure to draw some criticism for certain things he doesn't say--that militant extremists exist in Kashmir (LeT, JeM) as well as FATA; that unlike al-Qaeda said groups have a long history of close collaboration with Pakistan's intelligence agencies and army--but the point that Pakistanis themselves are no strangers to terrorist attacks is certainly one worth emphasizing right now. His careful wording, "[s]upporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict" is noteworthy, as it could be taken as a tacit acknowledgment that 'elements' who are no religious fanatics, but prefer to see Pakistan returned to military rule, are also present, and pose a problem somewhat distinct from that of militant Islamist groups. It remains to be seen how decisive an action last weekend's raid in Muzaffarabad really was, and how it will play out amidst widespread public resentment of anything that looks like kowtowing to India.

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Originally Posted by Babydoll View Post
What happened to the good old days of "Ye hai Mumbai meri jaan"
You know, I must have seen or heard this song wistfully invoked a couple dozen times now since the attacks...in blogs and listservs, in editorials, in a couple cases by Indians I know. I know the song and the movie, but I didn't realize it was still considered an unofficial anthem of the city to the degree it clearly is.

Zara hat ke, zara bach ke indeed...
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:10 AM   #40
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Pakistan acknowledges links to Mumbai attacks, arrests chief suspects

by SALMAN MASOOD
New York Times, February 12



ISLAMABAD — Pakistan acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that parts of the Mumbai terrorist attacks were planned on its soil and said that six suspects were being held and awaiting prosecution. The admission amounted to a significant about-face for the Pakistani government, which has long denied that any terrorist attacks against India, its longtime enemy, have originated in Pakistan. Officials said as recently as Monday that they did not have enough evidence to link the Mumbai assault to Pakistan, and there have been signs of internal tensions in Pakistan over cracking down on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant group that India and the United States have deemed responsible for the Nov. 26 attack on India’s financial capital. Pakistani officials did not explicitly name Lashkar as the organizer of the attacks on Thursday, but they did single out as suspects two people who are known to be connected to the group.

The formal acknowledgment of a Pakistani role came on the final day of a visit to the country by Richard C. Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to the region, who raised the issue with top Pakistani government officials, according to an official familiar with the conversations. Though Pakistani officials denied the announcement was linked to Mr. Holbrooke’s visit, the Obama administration has made clear that lowering hostilities between India and Pakistan is a crucial part of a regional solution to the war in Afghanistan.

...Despite seemingly overwhelming evidence presented by India, with the help of American and British investigators, top Pakistani officials had repeatedly raised doubts about the identity of the attackers and the links to Pakistan-based militant leaders. Finally, on Thursday, as Mr. Holbrooke left Pakistan for Afghanistan, Rehman Malik, the senior security official in the Interior Ministry, gave the fullest public account so far of Pakistan’s investigation. “Some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan,” he said in a televised news briefing. He emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to prosecuting the attackers and, unusually for a government official here, expressed solidarity with India. But he was also careful to diffuse blame for the attacks, noting that the tools used by the attackers to organize their plot—cellphone SIM cards, Internet servers—provided links to other countries, however ancillary. “We have gone the extra mile in conducting an investigation on the basis of information provided by India, and we have proved that we are with the Indian people,” Mr. Malik said. “According to the initial inquiry report a part of the conspiracy of Mumbai attacks was hatched in Pakistan; however links have been found in other states, including the U.S.A., Austria, Spain, Italy and Russia,” he added.

...While saying they did not have enough proof that the perpetrators were Pakistanis, President Asif Ali Zardari and other civilian leaders have expressed a determination to get to the bottom of the Mumbai attacks. Mr. Zardari even offered to send the nation’s top intelligence official to India after the attacks occurred. But his outreach to India met strong resistance from Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency and the military. A Defense Department official, who did not want to be named for similar reasons, said the Pakistani decision may have been an effort by the civilian government to “poke a stick” at the Pakistani military and intelligence service, which helped set up Lashkar in the 1980s as a proxy force to challenge India’s control of Kashmir, the disputed border region. Indian officials have previously blamed Lashkar for an attack in 2000 on the Red Fort in New Delhi, as well as involvement in an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Pakistan never acknowledged any Lashkar role in those attacks. The group is officially banned, though it has continued to operate openly.

Mr. Malik’s statements appeared to vindicate many of India’s accusations of Pakistani involvement. But he gave no confirmation of Indian claims that elements of the Pakistani security apparatus may also have been involved along with Lashkar. He said that Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the operational commander of Lashkar, was “under investigation” as the possible mastermind of the Mumbai assault. And he acknowledged allegations that e-mail messages that claimed responsibility for the attacks were created by Zarar Shah, the Lashkar communications coordinator...He named some of those arrested as a result of the inquiry, including men he identified as Muhammad Ishfaq and Javed Iqbal, who he said was captured after being lured to Pakistan from Spain. Cellphone SIM cards used in the attacks were bought in Austria, while calls over the Internet, using a server in Texas, were paid for in Barcelona, Spain, he said. Mr. Malik identified another co-conspirator as Hammad Amin Sadiq, who, he said, had been traced through telephone records and bank transfers. “He was basically the main operator,” Mr. Malik said. He also said that one of the people involved was in Houston, and that he planned to send a team to United States.

Only one of the attackers, Ajmal Kasab, survived the Mumbai assault. The Pakistani authorities have already acknowledged that he was of Pakistani origin. But they have yet to ascertain the identities of the other nine attackers because information provided by India was too vague, Mr. Malik said. He said he had originally planned to hold the briefing four to five days earlier, but because of some legal matters, he had to postpone it until Thursday. “The timing has nothing to do with Mr. Holbrooke’s visit,” he said.

But Sajjan M. Gohel, director for international security of the Asia Pacific Foundation in London, who has closely followed the Mumbai investigations, said there was no denying that Pakistan had been under pressure from the United States. “This is unprecedented,” he said. “It is the first time Pakistan has acknowledged an attack on India has originated on its soil.”
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