Friday, November 28, 2008

Israeli Reflection to Mumbai Attacks..

The following is the extract of an article in Jerusalem Post.


The multiple terror attacks that have rocked India's financial capital Mumbai were aimed at halting India's increasingly close relationship with the US, Britain and Israel, a senior Indian defense source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, noting that nationals of each country had been targeted.
Army personnel stand guard...

The attacks were also aimed at fomenting strife between India's well-integrated, sizable Muslim minority (third only in size to the Muslim population of Indonesia and Pakistan) and the Hindu majority, according to Colonel Behram A.
Sahukar, who has extensive practical experience in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism in the Indian subcontinent.

"There have been growing strategic ties between India and the US... and growing ties between India and Israel," Sahukar said.

Indian-Israeli relations have "been getting stronger by the day," Sahukar noted, though he stressed that this did "not come at the expense of India's relations with Arab countries."

Americans, British nationals and Israelis had been singled out in Mumbai as a result "of the closeness of their governments to us," Sahukar explained. The attackers perceive India's close ties with these countries and its partnership in the global war on terror "as a war against true Islam," he added.

Sahukar, a former Fellow in Terrorism and Security Studies at the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and a researcher at the United Service Institution of India in Delhi, said the raid and hostage-taking attack on the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai was an opportunistic act by a jihadi group with ties to radical elements in Pakistan.

At the same time, however, Israelis were not the main focus of the terror onslaught, he added. "This particular attack was expanded to include the Chabad House, but the [main] targets were Americans, and British nationals, because the UK is seen by the radicals as a poodle of the US," he said.

"If they wanted to hit Israelis they would hit Goa [south of Mumbai] or Manali [northeast of Dehli]," Sahukar said, naming hugely popular destinations among Israeli backpackers, where signs in Hebrew are commonplace, and where Sahukar said locals have even begun speaking some Hebrew because of the large numbers of Israelis passing through.

Sahukar said the attacks may have been launched by a coalition of home-grown Indian jihadi sleeper cells and Pakistan-based radical elements.
"The involvement of Pakistan is evident from the rubber dinghy boats found near the Mumbai waterfront, and past history shows that a sophisticated operation to coordinate and plan these simultaneous Fedayeen [martyrdom] attacks is necessary for sustainability and staying power," he added.

The attacks could also be linked to a group associated with Omar Sheikh, the man who beheaded the Jewish American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Sheikh, together with Maulana Mazood Azhar, were released by India in exchange for the release of 180 passengers on a flight hijacked by Muslim radicals in 1999.

"Omar Sheikh was later implicated in the murder of Daniel Pearl, and Mazood Azhar formed the Jaish e Muhammad group, which in conjunction with the Laskar e Taiyyaba launched several Fedayeen attacks against India's Parliament in December 2001, and in Kashmir since 1999," Sahukar said.

"This is not the first time that Westerners have been targeted, but it is the first time that they have been targeted on this scale and in such a violent manner," he added. Sahukar recalled how in June 1991, seven Israelis and one Dutch tourist were kidnapped from a houseboat in Srinagar, Kashmir. In the subsequent scuffle, one Israeli was killed and the others escaped. Other attacks on Westerners followed.

Sahukar said terrorism was now engulfing large cities in India due to crackdowns on trouble spots like Kashmir in recent years.

"This is shown by recent attacks in Gauhati and two other towns in Assam, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Htderabad, Mumbai and also Delhi," he said.

"Terrorists will also use India's vast and vulnerable coastline to introduce radical Islamists and explosives, in conjunction with home-grown terrorists and the activation of home-grown Indian Muslim militants," Sahukar stated.

The name of the group which has claimed responsibility for the attack, Deccan Mujahideen, "does not really mean very much," according to Sahukar, who said the name appeared to be a front for members of the Indian Mujahideen and the banned terrorist organization Students' Islamic Movement of India

The extremists are seeking to play off Hindu-Muslim tensions, which came to the fore in 1992, when Hindu radicals destroyed the renowned Babri Masjid mosque built on top of a Hindu holy place. Ten years later, 58 Hindus were burned alive by Muslim rioters in a train car in Ghodra. That incident was followed by dozens of attacks on Muslims by Hindus in the state of Gujarat. Sahukar expressed hope that Hindu militants would not fall into the trap set by jihadis by alienating India's moderate Muslims.

Sahukar regularly visits Israel to participate in conferences held by the Interdisciplinary Center's Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.

"If anything, these attacks will bring India even closer to the US, UK, Israel and even Pakistan in its fight against terrorism in general and Islamist terrorism in particular," Sahukar predicted.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

India's 9/11 & the insult on the Institution called TAJ.

On an evening not long ago at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai, a Bollywood star named Preity Zinta rushed up the stairs and into Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant. She joined long-waiting friends at their table and apologized for being late.

But before long, she had risen again. She had seen at a nearby table Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej, billionaires, socialites and fellow jet-setters. A good amount of air-kissing ensued. Then she was introduced to Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, who just happened to be in town.

Before long, a bottle of imported red wine arrived and was poured into a silver-tipped glass decanter, as platters of miso-encrusted sea bass and rock-shrimp tempura floated through the restaurant on upraised hands.

When violent attackers besieged the Taj, as it is universally known, and embarked on a murderous rampage Wednesday night, they targeted one of the city's best known landmarks.

But they also went after something larger: a hulking, physical embodiment of India's deepening involvement with the world.

The Taj is where privileged Indians come when they want a world-class meal. It is where pinstriped foreign executives come when deciding whether to invest in India or outsource jobs here. It is where Mick Jagger, Liz Hurley, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt stay when they are in town.

And it is owned by a conglomerate, the Tata Group, that appears to buy another foreign company every few months in its quest to be a multinational: hotels in Sydney, New York and London; a truck producer in South Korea; the British steel maker Corus; the storied automotive brands Jaguar and Land Rover.

Overnight Wednesday, the Indian writer Suketu Mehta, who wrote a defining book on Mumbai called "Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found," said that an attack on the Taj was "as if terrorists had taken over the Four Seasons and the Waldorf-Astoria and then were running around shooting people in Times Square."

The Four Seasons and the Waldorf-Astoria, however, could never claim the pivotal role in New York life that the Taj could claim in Mumbai.

It is not another Hilton or Sheraton in another Asian city. Its cash cow may be foreign guests, but it is equally a fixture of local Mumbai life, the aorta through which anything glamorous, sentimental, confidential or profitable passes in the city.

The hotel stands across from the Gateway of India, in the historic Colaba quarter. Those who would not dream of paying $3 - a good daily wage here - for one of its fresh-lime sodas sit outside the hotel, leaning against the stone wall above the Arabian Sea. They take in the scene, admire the finely dressed people breezing in and out.

It may not be their time for the Taj right now; but should a fortune ever bless them, into the Taj they will saunter.

The Taj, like many productive endeavors, was born out of spite.

Legend has it that Jamsetji Tata, a 19th-century Indian industrialist of Persian descent, was turned away from a hotel in British-era Mumbai. His crime was being Indian. He decided, in an inventive vision of revenge, to build the best hotel in the country, outfitted with German elevators, French bathtubs and other refinements from around the world.

Those refinements come with a price: at least $300 a night for one of the hotel's simplest rooms, or much more for better accommodation or in times of peak demand. And yet to pay that price and stay in that room is to enter a world that in India is hard to match.

The honking, scorching chaos of Mumbai fades away. A certain quiet comes. You can breathe again. The rooms come with all the latest gadgets. But there are also those indelible aspects of colonial life that refuse to wash away: The turbaned bodyguards, the grown men in the restrooms who refuse to let you twist the tap or squeeze the soap yourself, insisting on doing it for you.

For wealthy visitors, as well as many of the city's elite, the hotel had become so etched into their routine that it was like a second home, taken almost for granted - until its placid calm was broken when terrorism entered its halls.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Other Updates: Mumbai under Attack.

* 7 British citizens injured but safely rescued.

* one op French Nuclear Scientist was in the Hotel and after contacting the DAE, he ws rescued by the NSG.

* A Rabbi and his family is supposedly taken by the terrorists and Israel is keen to know whats going on..

ATS chief Hemant Karkare Killed in Terrorist Strike

ATS chief Hemant Karkare, two senior police officers and 80 others were killed when terrorists struck with impunity in Mumbai on Wednesday night in coordinated multiple blasts and gunfire in a dozen areas including at iconic landmarks CST railway station and two five star hotels--Oberoi and Taj.

Karkare (54), who was probing the Malegaon blasts case, was gunned down when he was leading an operation at Hotel Taj against terrorists who had taken 15 people, including seven foreigners, as hostages. He was hit by three bullets in his chest. One MP Krishan Das and 200 people were stranded in Taj hotel.

Another IPS officer Ashok Marutirao Kamte, a 1989 batch IPS officer, was killed while fighting terrorists at Metro Cinema in the city along with encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar who also gunned down as one of the worst terror strikes brought Mumbai to the knees.

Army moved in to assist local police in flushing out terrorists holed up in Taj and Oberoi hotels. 200 NSG commandoes were also rushed to Mumbai.

As indiscriminate firing and explosions at iconic landmarks showed no signs of easing since the first attack at Leopold restaurant in Colaba area at about 9.30 PM, hospitals like GT and Cama where gunfire was reported were also targeted. Police and eyewitnesses said AK-47s, rifles and hand grenades were used at will by an unspecified number of terrorists.

Sixty bodies and over 200 persons injured were brought at St George's Hospital, hospital sources said. Seven bodies were brought to GT hospital while two bodies were brought to Cooper hospital. Four bodies were brought to Mumbai hospital.

A little known outfit "Deccan Mujahideen" claimed responsibility for the

Mumbai under attack, 104 killed, 600+ injured

Yesterday night, during a regular news at 10 session a small scroll began as it sad "Bomb blasts in Mumbai CST" , dismissing it to be a low intensity blast, I was surfing channels and was shocked beyond words to see live images of gore and horror, as chaos reigned and both Oberai and Taj Mahal hotel is telecasted with commotion of gun-fires and grenade hurlings I've never expected to see in real life. (rather than when Arnold was part of it in some hi-budget Hollywood Flick)

Now, The details are clear(to a degree)

* - Terrorists Striked in 4 different places in a coordinated attack this country has ever witnessed.

* - The beating breast of Mumbai is the financal district surrounding Oberai hotels, nearly 40 hostages are there with scores of them being British and American citizens.

* - The intensity & audacity of the attack is so giant that we should really tell the establishment was caught in unawares...

* - There were two boats ladden with explosives near the Gateway of India and was seized and deactivated in time.

The Saddest part of the story is , India Today lost 3 of her Heroes in the action and they were caught unprepared and Under-equipped , The famed Head of The Anti Terrorism Squad Hemant Karkarae and ACP of Mumbai were killed when their command vehicle was entering the Hotel..

They died as they lived with a carbine in hand and a bullet in chest...and once this carnage is over, theres go to be a hell lot of an investigation to conduct.

Right now, Entire indian Security establishment has been mooted, INclding The NSG, ATS, Army commandos and the CRPF ....

More chaos and more confusion ...My hope and Yes PRAYERS are with those holed up in those places and the more so with e brave soles who endures the wrath and trying thier bet to end this nightmare...