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Back to Archives | Back to February 2009 Contents 

Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

rom November 26 through November 29, 2008, an ongoing and coordinated terrorist attack took place in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. According to news reports, the intended victims of these attacks were ordinary Mumbaikars as well as U.S. citizens, Britons, and Jews. The attacks were executed in the heart of India’s financial capital and a top Indian tourist destination.

Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment center of India and one of the top 10 centers of global financial commerce in the world. It is India’s largest city and one of the world’s most populous metropolitan areas.

Ten armed terrorists using automatic weapons and grenades carried out the attacks. The attackers entered Mumbai from the Arabian Sea by speedboats that were onboard trawlers, coming ashore at two locations in Colaba. At this point, the terrorists split into their attack formations and went in different directions. The first reported attack occurred around 9:30 p.m. on November 26 at the Cafe Leopold, a popular tourist restaurant in Colaba.

Near the same time, two terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles entered the passenger hall at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, opening fire and throwing grenades, killing 10 people. Indian police apprehended one of the terrorists, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, who disclosed that the attackers were part of a Pakistan-based militant organization considered a terrorist organization by India, the United States, and the United Kingdom, among other nations.

Targets of the coordinated terrorist attacks were luxury hotels; a Jewish community center; and restaurants, train stations, hospitals, and other facilities frequented by foreigners in Mumbai.

By the time the attacks ended on November 29, the terrorists had killed over 170 persons, including six U.S. citizens. 1 Recent reports have indicated that 300 people were injured, with most of the casualties being local residents.

Indian minister of external affairs Pranab Mukherjee noted that the terrorist attacks in Mumbai were preceded earlier that year by similar terrorist attacks in the cities of Jaipur, Bandu, Ahmedabad, and Delhi. Almost 350 innocent lives were lost and more than 733 people were injured due to terrorist attacks in India in 2008.2

The media attention and public reaction to the Mumbai attacks could possibly prompt other terrorist incidents. ?


1U.S. Department of State, “India: Country Specific Information,” December 23, 2008, (accessed January 26, 2009).
2Condoleezza Rice, Secretary, U.S. Department of State, “Remarks with Indian Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee,” U.S. Department of State, December 3, 2008, (accessed January 26, 2009).



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVI, no. 2, February 2009. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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