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Multiple Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai: The Nariaman (Chabad House) Attack – A Planned Target

An arrested terrorist has revealed that the Mumbai terror attack operation was planned about six months in advance. Investigators are the examining satellite phone and GPS found on a trawler seized in the Arabian Sea. Sources have told NDTV that data from the GPS revealed that the terrorists sailed from Karachi harbor on either November 12th or 13th. Their phone was used to call the Lashkar commander Yusuf Muzamil in Muzaffarabad. The group of terrorists stayed in Karachi for about four days. The mobile phone found on a dead terrorist was used to make calls to Pakistan. On November 18th, the Indian Coast Guard had warned of possibility of infiltration by sea route. [1]
According to the Indian research institute for conflict management directed by Dr. Ajai Sahni that operates the South Asia Terrorism Portal [2], one of the Mumbai attackers, Ajmal Amir Kamal confessed that the group had planned to sail out on November 27th. Their recruiters had even charted out the return route for the attackers and stored it on the Global Positioning System (GPS) device, which they had used to navigate on their way to the Mumbai shoreline. He also confessed that they were all trained in marine warfare along with the special course “Daura-e-Shifa” conducted by Lashkar-e-Toiba. Ajmal identified his associates as Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha Ismail, Abdul Rahman (Bada) and Abdul Rahman (Chhota) – all Pakistani citizens. According to Ajmal, on their way from Karachi the terrorists killed five fishermen and forcefully captured the trawler “Kuber”. After reaching the Mumbai coast, they split up into five batches. Two of them, Ismail and Ajmal, took a taxi to Victoria Terminus. Three other batches of two persons each headed for Oberoi Hotel, Cafe Leopold and Nariman House. The remaining four went to Taj Hotel.

Kasab, a native of Faridkot in the Punjab province of Pakistan, who sustained minor injuries in the police firing that killed his partner Abu Ismail on the night of November 26th, was produced before the Esplanade Metropolitan Magistrate on November 28th and remanded in police custody until December 8th. Kasab and Ismail shot dead Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and senior Mumbai Police officer Vijay Salaskar. An ATS source said that 16 Fidayeen (suicide squad) terrorists came to Mumbai on November 26th.

Kasab told the police that they had performed a reconnaissance tour of Mumbai a few months prior to the attack. He said he had come along with eight of the operatives to Mumbai as students and lived in a rented room at Colaba market near the Nariman House (“Chabad” House).

At this point of the investigation, although more elaboration needed, it appears that the plan to storm the Chabat house and conduct a hostage barricade situation was a pre-planned mission intended to target a facility identified as a “legitimate” Israeli/Jewish target; a fact that is resonated within the global Jihad ideology and modus operandi regarding types of targets that are chosen to be attacked. Based on Kasab’s (a native of Faridkot in the Punjab province of Pakistan) preliminary Indian police interrogation, the general alerts of attacking Jewish targets by Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups were materialized in a planned and concrete target attacked in Mumbai. The fact that Kasab spent some time around the Jewish Center (Chabat) while living in a rented apartment nearby, enabled him to conduct reconnaissance tours (possibly with audiovisual equipment), map the daily routine, the vulnerabilities of the target, identify security measures, and gain information regrding the nature of its residents and visitors. It can be assumed that the results of this information gathering process validated the “value” of the target, which was found to be suitable for the terrorists’ requirements.

If Kasab’s version is true, it is still unclear why the Chabat Hose hostage taking did not evolve and was not developed by the perpetrators into a “classic” hostage situation scenario, when after the violent take over, terrorists stabilize the situation and start with a series of declarations or demands. Even if the initial intent was to take hostages and gain some declarative or instrumental benefits, the attack rapidly turned into an violent  entrenchment without any indication of a feasible negotiation process.

More and more accumulative evidence gathered points out that the Al Qaeda affiliated Lashkar- e- Toiba terror organization was behind the attack. While, in fact it was operationally perpetrated by the group’s terrorists, the mullti-attack was presumably influenced and inspired by Al Qaeda’s global Jihad.



[2] Death toll rises to 195 in multiple terrorist attacks in Mumbai