Gunmen open fired at a number of locations across Mumbai Thursday morning, killing more than 100 people, injuring more than 300 and taking several hostages from luxury hotels usually inhabited by foreigners, according to CNN.
While India has frequently blamed terrorist attacks on Islamic militants and extremists in Pakistan, this attack comes at a time during which Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has been advocating closer relations with India; he even suggested a joint terrorism combat force.
Some analysts believe Zardari’s advocacy to become closer allies with India contributed to the attacks.‚ Some even believe it caused the attacks.‚ Many Islamic militant groups would see such a partnership as befriending a sworn enemy, one with whom they have a long history of tension and disagreement.
The terror attacks differ in many ways from attacks that are usually reported.‚ Rather than use suicide bombers of place bombs at several sites, the attackers actually open fired on innocent bystanders and took hostages.
The attackers openly engaged with civilians and armed Indian forces, clearly on some sort of meticulously organized mission.‚ The attackers had command centers set up at two hotels in India’s financial and entertainment capital.
While an organization has taken responsibility for the attack (the Deccan Mujahideen, though doubts about their existence still linger, some believe the name may be a front for another organization), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly stressed the attack was carried out by militants based outside India with an eye for targeting foreigners in Mumbai’s streets, as well as in the prestigious Trident/Oberoi Hotel and the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel.
Singh stressed the need for stronger measures on terrorism and has vowed to track down the perpetrators at all costs.
The attacks are getting very much attention in the West, more than usual for something that took place thousands of miles away.‚ The reason being that it seems the targets of the attacks were largely westerners, which would mean tensions between Pakistan and India cannot be blamed.
Whatever the reason for the attacks, they must still be condemned.‚ Pakistan is however urging India not to jump to conclusions.
Indian officials say they have captured nine suspects and killed six others.
Stick with Blast for ongoing analysis.