Thursday, November 27, 2008

India Under Attack

A break from the Thanksgiving festivities fro a couple of articles (both from the Economist) on the terror attacks in India. A reminder, that as we give thanks for our blessings there are those who seek our destruction and those who fight for our protection.

TERRORISTS who struck in Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, causing the deaths of at least 100 people and wounding some 250 others, were said to be hunting in particular for Western targets. Reports on the evening of Wednesday November 26th suggested that a series of attacks had been co-ordinated in a variety of locations in the wealthy south of the city. Gunmen burst into train stations, restaurants, luxury hotels and even hospitals; at least one bomb exploded, destroying a taxi.
According to eye-witness accounts from people who escaped the attacks, hostages had been taken in two five-star hotels, with Westerners—in particular Britons and Americans—singled out for capture. CafĂ© Leopold, a well-known restaurant that is frequented by tourists and other foreign visitors, was attacked by gunmen. A witness at the Taj hotel described how two young men with guns and bombs were demanding foreigners, in particular anyone with British or American passports.

THE sheer scale and audacity of the assault were staggering. Gangs of well-armed youths attacked two luxury hotels, a restaurant, a railway station and at least one hospital. Gunfire and explosions rang through Mumbai overnight on November 26th-27th and through the next morning. By Thursday November 27th more than 100 people were reported to have been killed, and the toll seemed likely to rise. Several foreigners, including some from America, Japan and Britain, were among the dead. So were over a dozen policemen, including Mumbai’s chief counter-terrorism officer. Up to 100 hostages, including selected American and British guests, were alleged to be held hostage inside a hotel.
Even in a city—and country—with a grim record of terrorist violence, these were extraordinary scenes. The attacks started at around 10.30pm on Wednesday, when gunmen started shooting and throwing grenades at Mumbai’s main Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station. Television footage showed two men shooting at random as they drove through nearby streets in a stolen police jeep.

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