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Facts about the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks
The attacks began around 9:40 pm on Wednesday 26 November. The last of the attacks was declared at an end on the following Saturday morning, 29 November.
There were multiple, co-ordinated attacks on targets across Mumbai, India's largest city, financial capital, and home to the Bollywood film industry.
The most notable targets were:
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – formerly known as Victoria Station.
- The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
- The Leopold Cafe
- The Trident-Oberoi Hotel
- Nariman House, a Jewish community centre.
There were also shootings in the streets and strikes on many other locations.
Just 10 gunmen, Indian authorities say, were responsible for the attacks. Many people dispute this figure, arguing that help from others must have been necessary to gain access and carry out the attacks.
They came by boat from Pakistan and on landing in Mumbai Harbour split up into pairs and spread out across the city.
They were from Jihhadist group Lashkar-e Taiba. Despite their proclaimed Islamist agenda, there were scores of Muslims amongst their victims. The bodies of the nine gunmen who were killed remain unclaimed, in Mumbai's morgue: the Indian Islamic Council has declined to give them an Islamic burial.
The lone surviving gunman, 21-year old, Azam Amir Kasab is currently on trial in India, on a host of charges ranging from making war on India to fare evasion at Victoria Station.
The Course of the Attacks
The attacks were mounted within minutes of each other. Some were straight out ambush attacks, such as the strike on Victoria Station and the Leopold Café. At The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House, there were multiple killings as the gunmen entered the buildings and then a state of siege developed. In both hotels, the gunmen went from floor to floor and room to room seeking out targets. They also lit fires, and many people perished in the smoke.
Hundreds of people caught up in the attacks later reported that their mobile phones had been critical to their survival. The ability to access information literally meant the difference between life and death. News reports gathered instantly from all over the world informed those suddenly caught up in the terror, that this was not a hit and run attack, that the gunmen were still in the building and to stay in hiding until they were told it was safe to leave.
172 people were killed in the attacks.
These included many local Mumbaikars, as well as visitors from all over the world. At both hotels, many staff died or were wounded as they attempted to protect their guests.