The last remaining gunman at the Taj Mahal hotel has been killed and the terror siege has ended. Fox News:
Shantaram Jadhav, an official at Mumbai's disaster control office, says 195 people have been killed and 295 wounded. Jadhav says "the death toll is likely to rise because there are still bodies in our vans that are being brought into hospitals." Eighteen foreigners, including six Americans, were killed.
The hotel was the final terror hotspot Saturday morning, with Indian authorities already appearing to have regained control over the rest of the city after the wave of attacks launched late Wednesday night. Security officials told FOX News' sister network Sky News that all hostages had been freed from the hotel.
Who is responsible for this horrific tragedy? Islamic jihadists. There are other questions: Where did they come from? Who trained them? Is Pakistan involved? Does it matter where they came from or who trained them? Or should the focus be on the failure of Indian intelligence?
"According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible for Mumbai terror attacks," Pranab Mukherjee, India's foreign minister, told reporters in the western city of Jodhpur, though he declined to identify any evidence.
Pakistan, India's cross-border rival, has denied that its government had anything to do with the attacks. Pakistani leaders have called on the two countries to work together to combat terrorism, and Pakistan has pledged to send its spy chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, to India to help probe the attacks.
Attention is being focused on Kashmir based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba:
American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Friday that
there was mounting evidence that a Pakistani militant group based in
Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for this week’s
deadly attacks in Mumbai. The officials cautioned that they had reached no firm conclusions about
who was responsible for the attacks, or how they were planned and
carried out. Nevertheless, they said that evidence gathered in the past
two days pointed to a role for Lashkar-e-Taiba or possibly another
group based in Kashmir, Jaish-e-Muhammad, which also has a track record
of attacks against India.
American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Friday that there was mounting evidence that a Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for this week’s deadly attacks in Mumbai.
The officials cautioned that they had reached no firm conclusions about who was responsible for the attacks, or how they were planned and carried out. Nevertheless, they said that evidence gathered in the past two days pointed to a role for Lashkar-e-Taiba or possibly another group based in Kashmir, Jaish-e-Muhammad, which also has a track record of attacks against India.
Lashkar-e-Taiba denied any responsibility on Thursday for the terrorist strikes. American intelligence agencies have said that the group has received some training and logistical support in the past from Pakistan’s powerful spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or I.S.I., and that Pakistan’s government has long turned a blind eye to Lashkar-e-Taiba camps in the Kashmir region, a disputed territory over which India and Pakistan have fought two wars.
One of the captured terrorists "clearly said he is with Lashkar":
Indian intelligence officials said the gunmen who launched the coordinated attacks appeared well trained and well prepared. The assailants seemed familiar with the layouts of the two hotels and the Jewish center, giving them a tactical advantage over the police and Indian army troops sent in to dislodge them.
"This is a big-scale operation, but it is not beyond the capability of Lashkar-i-Taiba," said the intelligence officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of his work. "The person we have caught is a foot soldier; he is from Pakistan's Punjab," the officer said, referring to a region divided by the India-Pakistan border.
A December 2006 letter written by a Mumbai Intelligence Bureau official and obtained by The Post says that hundreds of operatives from Lashkar-i-Taiba had received maritime training.
Members of the group "are being trained to handle large boats, laying of mines in coastal zones and planting of explosives under dams, bridges, ships etc.," says the letter, which was marked "secret."
"[T]hey are being taught navigational techniques, rescue operations, surveillance methods, concealment of explosives and underwater attack on enemy's coastal targets/vessels," the letter says.
Sriprakash Jaiswal, minister of state for home affairs, told reporters Friday that India's state governments were warned to boost coastal security two years ago. "But now with the new challenges, we will have to deal with this issue on a war footing," he said.
Maybe Indian authorities need to rethink this:
“India is the only country where legislation prohibits the navy and the coast guard from intercepting vessels,” says Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh, former director-general, Coast Guard. Clearly, another case of a lethargic security apparatus being caught napping by wily terrorists.
Maybe the attacks will be the wake-up call the Indian government needed, if so it comes at a heavy price. Will the horrific massacre in Mumbai wake up a few folks in Britain as well? (via Jihad Watch):
Seven of the terrorists who brought carnage to Mumbai are British, Indian government sources claimed yesterday.
They said two British-born Pakistanis are under arrest. And another five suspects are said to have been born and raised here.
Two of the seven are from Leeds, one is from Bradford and one from Hartlepool, the sources claimed. All are aged between 20 and 26.
The claims were made as the death toll in Mumbai reached 155 – with predictions it could go as high as 200.
The Hartlepool suspect was allegedly found in the five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel, scene of some of the most horrific killings. The man from Bradford and one from Leeds were allegedly discovered on the 17th floor of the Oberoi-Trident Hotel.
A second man from Leeds was allegedly captured near a jetty after a gang of around 25 terrorists landed in Mumbai by boat on Wednesday.
The suspects were allegedly found with documentation, possibly including passports, which revealed their origin.
The sources say they also spoke to each other in a heavily-accented Punjabi common in UK Pakistani communities. Gordon Brown yesterday urged caution saying it was “premature” to draw any conclusions.
He said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had not told of him of “any evidence at this stage” that Britons were behind the massacres. [...]
The Foreign Office and MI6 were last night trying to establish the facts amid chaotic scenes in Mumbai as Indian commandos continued operations to flush out the remaining gunmen.
If the terrorists are Britons, the UK security service will have to urgently discover how they slipped through the surveillance net. In the wake of 7/7 London bombings the monitoring of militant and disaffected Muslim groups has been tightened up.
The security services were criticised after 7/7 for not keeping better track of the bombers. Since the early 2000s Britain has had an unwelcome reputation as a haven for Islamic radicals. [...]
Robert Spencer, who has been relentless in "bringing public attention" to the dangers of Islamic Jihad:
Will our so-called leaders finally pay attention? Will the media finally pay attention? Or will more innocent people be sacrificed in the name of "political correctness"? Does the almighty virtue of tolerance trump the value of human lives?