The 10 Mulsim jihadi terrorists, aged between 20 and 23 years, belonged to the Pakistani militant Islamic group Lashkar-e-Taiba, literally Army of the Good, and often translated as Army of the Righteous, or Army of the Pure. Lashkar-e-Taiba's main purpose is to challenge India's sovereignty over the State of Jammu and Kashmir. But its ideology goes beyond that. In an Islamic fundamentalist pamphlet titled Why Are We Waging Jihad, Lashkar-e-Taiba writes that it wants to force Islamic rule over all parts of South Asia, Russia and even China. Further, it seeks to bring about a political union of all Muslims in countries that surround Pakistan.
Lashkar-e-Taiba has supporters and/or official links within the Pakistani Intelligence Service, although all official links are publicly denied as the organization is banned as a terrorist organization in the US, Pakistan, India, and many other countries. Not surprisingly, Lashkar-e-Taiba also has historic links to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
It was in one of Lashkar-e-Taiba's training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir that the 10 terrorists received training in the use of machine guns and grenades to be commando fighters. Later they received training in Karachi to learn to sail and in marine combat. For their massacre mission, each of the 10 was armed with a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault machine gun, 200 rounds of ammunition and grenades. They also had at least one state-of-the art Garmin global positioning system, and several mobile satellite phones. Three of the men had larger bags, packed with five timer-controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (bombs).
The terrorists left Muridke, near Lahore, Pakistan, travelling in groups of two to Karachi. Together on November 23, they left Karachi by sea. On November 25 or 26 they hijacked the Indian fishing trawler Kuber somewhere in international waters off the coast of Pakistan. They immediately killed its four of its five crew members, leaving its skipper, Amarjit Singh, to navigate the ship to the waters of India. After a day, they killed the skipper, slitting his throat. One of the terrorists took over as skipper. When they were a few miles from Mumbai, they transferred into black and yellow inflatable rubber dinghies to make the trip to shore.
On Wednesday night, November 26, around 9PM, Mumbai time, one arrived at Cuffe Parade near the fishermen's colony and the other landed at Sassoon dock. Both are close to the Gateway of India jetty. They further split into multiple groups, commandeered taxis and a police car to travel to their targets, Four of the terrorists went to the Taj Mahal Hotel, two went to the Oberoi Trident hotel, two went to Nariman House, and the other two men went to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. At their destinations, in a coordinated commando-style assault, they wreaked havoc, attacking murdering and injuring civilians and the police causing one of the worst atrocities in Mumbai history.
About 9:20 PM one group arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). This train station is one of the world's busiest handling tens of thousands of passengers each day. Out in the open, the terrorists randomly fired their machine guns, at the passengers waiting for trains, killing or injuring all who were in their sight. Security at the station responded to the attackers. An unarmed police officer in civilian dress took the rifle from an injured Government Railway police officer and opened fire at the terrorists. The terrorists shot him in the head. Then they ran away.
A second group headed toward the Cafe Leopold restaurant. This restaurant is a popular one among Bombay tourists and has been open since 1871. They fired indiscriminately at passer-bys and restaurant patrons. Steve Smith, an Austrailian helicopter pilot, was on the mezzanine floor of the restaurant. He heard the grenades exploding and the machine gun fire. Quickly, he herded the patrons to a small closet for safety and then blocked the door to the Cafe with tables and chairs, probably saving 30 lives.
As police rushed to the scene of the first two attacks, the terrorists attacked the Cama Hospital for women and infants. Several people were killed at the hospital, and a standoff there lasted until Thursday morning.
The Islamic terrorists attacked the Taj Mahal Palace hotel at about 9:45PM. As can be seen below, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower is a luxurious elaborate building with onyx columns and high alabaster ceilings opened in 1903. It is one of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, looking out over Mumbai's waterfront. It is a favorite place for tourists. Many large international business deals have been made in its restaurants and meeting rooms.
When the Islamic terrorists stormed into Taj Mahal, they fired their machine guns, shooting up people in the lobby to get attention and asked who was British and American to single these people out. They took hostages and forced them to the upper floors of the hotel.
Police surrounded the hotel. After midnight there was a massive blast in the central dome of the hotel causing a fire in the building. As army soldiers arrived, the fire spreads across the top floor. Fireman rescued people using ladder trucks. Some of the hotel guests tied sheets together using them to climb out of their windows and make their escapes from their rooms on the lower floors. By early morning, Indian commando and bomb squads arrived to battle the terrorists. The terrorists seem to know the maze of corridors in the Taj. They moved from room to room, from floor to floor, from stairway to back-stairway, corridor to back corridor, switching positions, throwing grenades and eluding the Indian commandos. While some of the commandos were battling the terrorists, other commandos brought hostages, trapped guests and corpses out of the hotel in small groups while fires erupted periodically and firefighters battled the flames. Many rounds of gun fire were heard with grenades exploding as the gun battles between the commando units and the terrorists continued.
All the while this was going on, people were being rescued and the gun battles continued, even until Saturday morning, November 29 when the commandos rescued 200 hostages from the hotel Ballroom. Then there was a new fire on the first floor and black smoke coming out on the second floor. More gun battles. Finally, at 8:00AM Saturday morning, the commandos reported that the terrorists at the Taj Hotel had all been killed.
At about 10PM, Wednesday evening, another group of the terrorists entered the Oberoi five star hotel, one very popular with business travellers. The smaller Oberoi hotel is connected by a corridor to the larger Trident hotel, both a run by Oberoi. They are located at the southern tip of Mumbai's Marine drive and a stone's throw from the the Bombay Stock Exchange and the state legislative assembly.
At the Oberoi, the terrorists grabbed hostages, dragging all they could find out of their rooms. They were made to stand in a line against a wall and executed. By Friday, November 28, the Indian commandos killed the two terrorists in the Oberoi and ended the attack.
A little after 10PM, Wednesday evening, another two of the terrorists entered the Nariman House which is a five-storey residential building where several Jewish families live and is the home of the Chabad Jewish outreach group in Mumbai. Chabad runs a drug prevention service and serves as a study center and place away from home for many Jews and Israelis that visit Mumbai. It serves Kosher food, has a mikvah, and houses the only synagogue in Mumbai.
Soldiers surrounded Nariman House while sharp shooters took up their positions in nearby buildings and started the attack against the terrorists. The Indian commandos arrived early Thursday morning by helicopter. The commandos rappelled from the helicopters to the roof of Nariman house. As the commandos proceeded to go through Nariman house floor by floor and room by room, there were a series of explosions that rocked the building and blew gaping holes into the walls. When the battle was over and the two terrorists killed, Nariman house had all but been destroyed. Bodies of six severely tortured and disfigured hostages were taken out. Among those killed were the Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the Chabad house director and his wife.
When it was all, after nearly 60 hours of terror, the Islamic jihadi terrorists had killed over 190 people and injured around 300. The Indian security forces had rescued 250 people from the Oberoi, 300 from the Taj Mahal and 12 families of 60 people from Nariman House.