2008 Mumbai attacks Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) (aka Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba)

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2008 Mumbai attacks

The 2008 Mumbai attacks were a series of terrorist attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organization based in Pakistan, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai, the largest city of India. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on 26 November and lasted until 29 November 2008. At least 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.

Background[edit | edit source]

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), also known as Army of the Pure or Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, is a Pakistan-based militant organization. Founded in the early 1990s, it has been accused of orchestrating various terrorist attacks, primarily in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The group aims to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to "liberate" Muslims residing in Indian Kashmir. The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia, Australia, and India have listed LeT as a terrorist organization.

Attack Overview[edit | edit source]

The attackers arrived by sea from Karachi, Pakistan, hijacked an Indian fishing boat, and sailed to Mumbai. Upon reaching the city, they split into groups and targeted multiple locations, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Oberoi Trident, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre, and several other places.

The attackers used automatic weapons and grenades, and in some locations, they took hostages. The siege at the Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi Trident hotels, and Nariman House, were among the last to be ended by the Indian security forces.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The attacks led to widespread criticism of the Indian government for its inability to prevent such a sophisticated and coordinated terrorist attack. It also strained relations between India and Pakistan, with India alleging that Pakistani state agencies were involved in planning the attacks. Pakistan denied any involvement, but the incident led to increased tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

In response to the attacks, India overhauled its counter-terrorism capabilities, including the establishment of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the strengthening of maritime security.

Lashkar-e-Taiba[edit | edit source]

Lashkar-e-Taiba's involvement in the Mumbai attacks brought the group into the international spotlight, leading to increased efforts to curb its activities. Despite being officially banned in Pakistan, LeT continues to operate under various front organizations. Its leader, Hafiz Saeed, has been designated a terrorist by the United Nations and the United States, although he denies any involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The 2008 Mumbai attacks have left a lasting impact on India and the world. They are often compared to the September 11 attacks in the United States, in terms of their psychological impact on the nation. The attacks have also been depicted in various films, documentaries, and books, highlighting the tragedy and heroism of the victims and responders.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD