By SOMINI SENGUPTA
Some reports set the death toll as high as 80 in coordinated terror attacks aimed at luxury hotels, a train station, a movie theater and a hospital.
週 日﹐當死者遺體還在源源不斷的從泰姬陵酒店(Taj Mahal Palace & Tower)向外運出時﹐印度內政部長因為對週三發生的這次襲擊負有“道德上的責任”而引咎辭職﹐財長齊丹巴蘭(Palaniappan Chidambaram)被任命為新的內政部長。
據伊斯蘭堡方面稱﹐巴基斯坦總理吉拉尼(Yousuf Raza Gilani)已取消本週對香港的訪問計劃﹐以應對這次襲擊事件以及仍在加劇的印巴緊張關係。
印度負責搜集國際情報的機構調查分析局(Research and Analysis Wing)前局長索德(Vikram Sood)表示﹐武裝分子為此進行了攻擊、佔領和死守的週密設計﹐這種襲擊模式可以被複製在任何其他場所。
但 調查人員也不排除有其他國家公民參與襲擊事件的可能性﹐同時也可能有本地人為恐怖分子提供了支持。警方從恐怖分子遺留在泰姬陵酒店的一個背包中發現了一張 毛里求斯政府簽發的身份證。特種部隊還復原了七張信用卡﹐這些卡來自諸多印度銀行和在印度有業務的跨國銀行﹐既有印度盧比也有美元帳戶。
Peter Wonacott / Matthew Rosenberg / Jackie Range / Krishna Pokharel
Tensions Mount As India Seeks Answer To Attacks
On Sunday, with corpses still being pulled from the landmark Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, India named Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram to be home affairs minister, after the incumbent stepped down to take 'moral responsibility' for the attacks, which began Wednesday night.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Congress party-led coalition government faces mounting criticism for failing to prevent or quickly end the attacks, which Indian officials have suggested involved Islamist militants trained in Pakistan.
The only gunman captured by police after the attacks told authorities he belonged to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a senior police officer said Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said the assailant told police the group had intended to hit more targets during their attacks. 'Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the terrorist acts in the city,' Mr. Maria told reporters. 'The terrorists were from a hardcore group in the L-e-T.'
A U.S counterterrorism official said that the information being learned in the investigation continues to point to a Lashkar-e-Taiba connection. He said the 'working assumption' of the U.S. government that L-e-T and another Pakistani militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, are behind the attacks continues to hold up. 'It does seem consistent with that, even if you still don't have final definitive conclusion being drawn,' a U.S. counterterrorism official said, who declined to speak to specific details.
At least 174 people were killed in the assaults on 10 locations in Mumbai, including the iconic 105 year-old Taj Mahal, the luxury Oberoi and Trident hotel complex, and a local Jewish center. At least 18 foreigners, including six Americans, were among the victims, according to the Associated Press.
The attackers held an unknown number of people hostage during their siege of the hotels and the Jewish center, known as Chabad House. At least some of those held were later killed.
The death toll was revised down Sunday from 195 after authorities said some bodies were counted twice. But they said it could rise again as areas of the Taj Mahal were still being searched. Nine gunmen were killed and one captured, security officials said.
The new home minister, Mr. Chidambaram, will take India's top security post as the government faces a parliamentary election that must be held by next May, when its term expires.
The government has been blasted by political opponents for being unprepared and inept at dealing with increasingly frequent instances of terrorism in recent months.
Mr. Chidambaram's predecessor, Shivraj Patil, had been heavily criticized after terrorist bombings in New Delhi, Jaipur and the state of Assam this year.
In Mumbai, police responding to the initial attacks also appeared ill-equipped and ill-trained to deal with the apparently well-prepared and heavily armed terrorists. Even when India's elite military commandos took over -- and ultimately brought the siege to an end -- they struggled for more than two days to root out a relatively small number of attackers. And the 200 commandos who eventually prevailed had to be flown in from New Delhi and didn't arrive at the scene of the attacks until about nine hours after they began.
The developments came as strains with South Asian arch rival Pakistan increased. Indian officials have said that initial investigations of the Mumbai attacks linked them to Islamist militants, at least some of whom allegedly launched their assault by sea from predominately Muslim Pakistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani canceled a scheduled trip to Hong Kong this week to deal with the attacks and rising tensions with India, officials in Islamabad said.
A senior Pakistani security official warned Saturday that troops would be diverted from its war against al Qaeda and Taliban militants and deployed on the Indian border if Pakistan felt threatened by its neighbor.
On Sunday, authorities were still removing bodies from the Taj Mahal, where three suspected Muslim militants made a last stand before Indian commandos killed them in a blaze of gunfire and explosions Saturday.
The Taj Mahal, popular among foreign tourists and Indian high society, was surrounded by metal barricades, its shattered and fire-scorched windows boarded over.
A previously unknown Muslim group called Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message to local media. But Indian officials have said a surviving gunman, now in custody, was from Pakistan.
New details about the attackers cited by Indian officials raised more questions about their training and preparation. The terrorists were equipped with sophisticated automatic weapons and grenades, as well as GPS technology and mobile and satellite phones to communicate, according to the AP.
Indian authorities have said at least some of the attackers may have arrived in Mumbai on a trawler that was later found abandoned and drifting off the coast with a bound corpse aboard a day after the attacks started. The government suspects they then transferred to a dinghy and came ashore near the key sites targeted in the assaults.
Eyewitnesses said some of the attackers had deliberately sought out U.S. and British citizens at the hotels and other locations in Mumbai business center frequented by foreigners.
Other foreigners killed in the attacks included Germans, Canadians, Israelis and nationals from Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The crisis exposed the huge challenges India faces in trying to deal with terrorism. Many key questions about the attacks were unanswered, including the identities and nationalities of the terrorists, how precisely they launched their assaults, or whether any managed to escape.
A U.S. official said a U.S. government team is now in Mumbai to aid in the investigation. He gave no details on the size of the team or how exactly they are helping out Indian investigators.
The assaults were unusual not only because of their apparent meticulous planning and sophisticated execution, but because the attackers took hostages, but didn't make any formal demands. Security experts said they seemed intent staging on a lengthy, crippling siege that inflicted maximum casualties and occupied attention around the world for days.
Gunfire was reported at luxury hotels, a restaurant, police headquarters and a train station.
'This was designed to go in, capture and hold,' said Vikram Sood, former chief of India's external intelligence arm, the Research and Analysis Wing. 'This could be replicated in any number of places.'
Two assailants who attacked the Jewish center and a hotel were recorded calling Indian television stations with their complaints about treatment of Muslims in the disputed territory of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan.
But investigators also were pursuing the possibility that citizens from other countries were involved, as well as locals who may have provided support. One identity card found in a rucksack abandoned by the terrorists at the Taj Mahal hotel was issued by the government of Mauritius. Commandos also recovered seven credit cards from a number of Indian and international banks that operate in India, as well as dollars and Indian currency.
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are believed to have links to al Qaeda. They rose to prominence fighting in an Islamic insurgency in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir, a predominately Muslim region divided between India and Pakistan.