India: Who are the militants who attacked Mumbai?
As Indian commandos finish their operations against the gunmen who killed at least 143 people, focus turns to the assailants' identity.
As Indian commandos finish their operations against the gunmen who killed at least 143 people, focus turns to the assailants' identity.Skip to next paragraph
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Indian forces entered the closing stages of their operations against the militants who attacked Mumbai (Bombay) Wednesday, but the identity of the militants, which could have ramifications on India-Pakistan relations, remains unclear.
The Associated Press reports that Indian commandos on Friday secured the Oberoi Hotel, one of the sites targeted by gunmen in Mumbai Wednesday in a series of attacks that left at least 143 dead and 288 injured. The AP also writes that the commandos were continuing operations to retake the Taj Mahal Hotel and a Jewish outreach center on Friday.
While explosions and gunfire continued intermittently at the elegant Taj Mahal hotel Friday afternoon, officials said commandos had killed the two last gunmen inside the nearby Oberoi.
"The hotel is under our control," J.K. Dutt, director general of India's elite National Security Guard commando unit, told reporters, adding that 24 bodies had been found. Dozens of people -- including a man clutching a baby -- had been evacuated from Oberoi earlier Friday.
Even as the attacks were unfolding, speculation quickly turned to the identity of the attackers. The Los Angelese Times reports that the Indian government put the blame for the attacks on foreign elements, which it has often used to refer to Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went on national television Thursday, asserting that the organizers of the attacks were "based outside the country."
In what was seen as a thinly veiled indictment of Pakistan, he warned India's neighbors that "the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated." Other government officials were quoted in Indian media alleging that the squads of gunmen had charged ashore from rubber boats that fanned out from an unidentified mother ship.
In response, Pakistan's defense minister condemned the Mumbai attacks and warned India to refrain from accusing its longtime rival of involvement. And some security experts warned that India has plenty of home-grown extremists who could be behind the violence.