Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Gunmen Skillful, Planful, Ruthless

Indian commandos battle well-trained, ruthless gunmen.

"Fighting room-by-room through two luxury hotels, over dozens of bodies and through darkened corridors slick with blood, the commandos came up against well-trained and determined gunmen.

Explosions and gunfire continued intermittently at the Taj Mahal hotel Friday afternoon, two days after a chain of militant attacks across India's financial center left [153] people dead and the city in panic. . . .

It was a game of cat and mouse through the hotels' hundreds of rooms, and in many cases the gunmen had the advantage.

"These people were very, very familiar with the hotel layouts and it appears they had carried out a survey before," the commando said.

The gunmen used their knowledge to move skillfully from place to place, thwarting efforts to pin them down. To further confuse the commandos, they switched off lights and plunged the rooms into darkness. . . .

The gunmen showed "no remorse to anybody, whoever came in front of them they fired," said the commando.

They were armed with assault rifles and hand grenades and knew how to use them.

'It's obvious they were trained somewhere ... not everyone can handle the AK series of weapons or throw grenades like that,' the commando said."


Scale, sophistication suggest outside help

"Television footage showed the assailants carrying automatic rifles and backpacks filled with ammunition and grenades. Analysts said the fact that the gunmen quickly fanned across the city and were able to hold off Indian security forces over three days suggested that they had received training at organized camps.

"What is striking about this is a fair amount of planning had to go into this type of attack," said Roger W. Cressey, a former White House counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. "This is not a seat-of-the-pants operation. This group had to receive some training or support from professionals in the terrorism business." "


Lashkar-e-Tayiba connection.

Suspect confirms LeT link.

Siege continues at the Taj.

Photo coverage via Boston.com.

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