Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Terror Attack In Bombay

A series of seven bombs destroyed commuter trains in Bombay during that city's evening rush hour, killing at least a dozen and probably more:

India's CNN-IBN television news, which had a reporter traveling on the train, said the blast took place in a first-class car as the train was moving, ripping through the compartment and killing more than a dozen people.

We shall soon see who is responsible, but the bombings occurred just hours after Islamic radicals killed eight people with grenades in Kashmir, so I think we will find that this is a repeat of the terror attacks in Spain and Britain. So far, the BBC has sloughed off the news, reporting without elaboration that "[t]here have been a number of bomb attacks in Mumbai in recent years."

UPDATE 10:07 am CDT:
The death toll is now reported as dozens.

The Kashmir grenade attacks were part of a series of such attacks. On July 8, a Muslim terrorist threw a grenade into a crowd of worshippers gathered before a Hindu shrine. One politician was killed, a second injured; the second politician appears to have been the target of the attack. Five children and six policemen were injured. Two days later, police killed the mastermind of the attack.

On the afternoon of July 11, Muslim Kashmiri terrorists made five grenade attacks, including one against a minivan full of tourists. Eight were killed and dozens injured.

UPDATE 10:13 am CDT:
Up to a hundred are feared dead. Reports are that all of the blasts struck first-class cars.

Here's why this is scary, in case you had forgotton:
But even as the two nuclear rivals have talked peace in the past two years, New Delhi has continued to accuse Pakistan of training, arming and funding the militants. Islamabad insists it only offers the rebels diplomatic and moral support.

UPDATE 10:32 am CDT:
Jihad Watch reports the contents of a Stratfor briefeing ($): "India was due for a militant attack by LeT [Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba] in a major urban area. Though Indian security forces have been particularly effective in uncovering a number of LeT cells throughout the country, they failed to completely disrupt LeT's plans."

Amit Varma's Bombay-based blog India Uncut is reporting on the crime, as is the Times of India.

UPDATE 11:22 am CDT:
An eyewitness account from a Bombay commuter:
Karanukar Hegde is thanking his lucky stars he chose the other of the two first class compartments on the 5.36 pm slow train from Churchgate. The Mumbai-based financial analyst lives in Borivali, the last stop for the train that was terminated at Jogeshwari in northern Mumbai, seconds after a powerful bomb blast ripped through the train's first class compartment on the northern end.

It could have been worse:
Hegde says the train was not so packed around 6.30 pm when the blast took place. This is because at 5.36 when the train left Churchgate in south Mumbai, the peak rush was just beginning to set in. Also, this was a slow train that stopped at all stations, unlike the packed fast trains going further north to destinations like Virar.

Up to 135 fatalities so far, and over 400 injured, according to last reports.

UPDATE 1:11 pm CDT:
146 dead, varying reports on the number injured, but generally 400+.

The blasts were coordinated, ocurring within 11 minutes of one another. However, Indian Home Minister is saying that the blasts in Bombay and the grenade attacks in Kashmir are unrelated.

The blog Vantage Point provides a timeline of the media coverage (via India Uncut). They report there was an eighth bomb that was successfully defused.

The BBC has a photo essay and a set of various quotes on the bombing. Here are some highlights from the latter:

"The series of blasts... are shocking and cowardly attempts to spread a feeling of fear and terror among our citizens....

"We will work to defeat the evil designs of terrorists and will not allow them to succeed."


"Pakistan strongly condemns the series of bomb blasts on commuter trains in Mumbai, India. This despicable act of terrorism has resulted in the loss of a large number of precious lives... Terrorism is a bane of our times and it must be condemned, rejected and countered effectively and comprehensively."

The Pakistani remark is modestly comforting, but an attack on India's parliament a few years ago nearly started a war between India and Pakistan. This attack could do the same if it is discovered that it was the work of Muslim terrorists supported by Pakistani security services. I had read this commentary at Israpundit earlier today, before the bombings, and it suddenly becomes more relevant. It originally appeared in the Asia Times:
Dogs of war incline toward caution, which after all is how they grew up to be dogs. More worrisome are puppies, who do not know what danger is. Gavrilo Princeps, the Serbian gunman who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand dead in June 1914, was a puppy. So are the Hamas kidnappers, who at this writing still hold Israeli Army Corporal Gilad Shalit, and the Mehdi Army shooters who reportedly disposed of several dozen Sunni civilians in Baghdad on the weekend.

The Bombay attacks are the work of more of those puppies.
Wars start because no one wants to disown his dog. If your dog bites a neighbor, your neighbor well might come after you with a shotgun. Nicholas II of Russia, I observed recently, did not want war in 1914 and until the end of July insisted that no war would break out. But the Serbian puppies supported by his secret service dragged him into it willy-nilly. The past week's events in the Middle East have a disturbing feel of July 1914 about them.

UPDATE 1:30 pm CDT:
As if on cue, I see this report:
A terrorist was on Tuesday arrested in south Delhi and 2.5 kg RDX seized from his possession, police said.

Aijaz Hussain, hailing from Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested from Lodhi road area after police received a tip-off about his movement, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Alok Kumar said.

Police was interrogating him to find out if he has any links with the serial blasts in Srinagar and Mumbai and to find which terrorist outfit he belonged to, he said.

An amount of Rs 49 lakh was also seized from his possession, police said, adding according to their information Hussain was working for one Pakistan-based militant Mukhtar Ahmed.

Puppies, again. Via Gateway Pundit.

UPDATE 4:07 pm CDT:
Via Bill Roggio at the Counterterrorism Blog, two reports. The first, from the Times of India, indicates that two affiliated groups have taken responsibility:
The terror attack on Mumbai trains was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists and was designed to trigger communal conflagration in the country’s financial capital, intelligence sources said.

While still waiting for clues to emerge, top intelligence sources in New Delhi seem pretty sure the blasts on the trains were plotted by Lashkar modules which are increasingly collaborating with activists of SIMI, which boasts of strong pockets of influence across Maharashtra.

The second, from NBC, states that Indian intelligence believes the bombings to have been the work of Dawood Ibrahim, "an Indian Muslim with ties to al-Qaida."

The latest reports have the death toll at greater than 160.

UPDATE 8:01 pm CDT:
A reporter from the Wall Street Journal's Bombay office filed another eyewitness account of the bombings. Her train was spared, but she reported on the aftermath from of the stations:
Near my apartment, I went to check out the Khar station, site of a separate bomb blast. A ten-minute walk from there, another explosion occurred near the Santa Cruz station. Volunteers from nearby colleges and neighborhood residents went down to the tracks to help out and distribute water. Some people linked arms, making a human chain to prevent more people from coming to the bomb site.

"We were playing cricket nearby when the blast happen and we ran over to help and have been here since then," said one Santa Cruz neighbourhood boy, Mahesh Mahadev. "I saw flames and a thick black cloud and saw people jumping from the train."

Tempers flared at the slow response from the city's rescue workers. Volunteers complained that fire brigrades and ambulances took way too long to arrive.

"After Khar Station, we heard this loud blast and we thought it was as shot circuit,"Jignesh Bhatt, another volunteer. "We jumped from the train and then realized what had happened. We helped pull out the people from the bombed coach by removing the seats and metal."

It nears dawn in India, and security has been tightened across that nation. The fear now is that the bombings are merely the first of many. A string of bombings struck Bombay in 1993, and that city has suffered bombings more recently. Reuters provides a timeline of recent terror attacks in India.

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