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Mumbai Attack Most Significant Since Sept. 11 Attack on U.S.

10:26 AM, Nov 27, 2008 • By BILL ROGGIO
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The terror assault on Mumbai is in its second day as Indian security forces struggle to regain control of the city and clear the remaining terrorists from two hotels and a residential complex. Hundreds of Indian Naval and National Security Guards commandos have been rushed into the capital to help end the hostage situations at the Taj and Oberoi Trident hotels and the Nariman House. Reports from India indicate the commando assaults are underway. More than 200 hostages, many foreigners, are still held captive. The Indian Mujahideen have demanded the release of all jihadis currently in Indian jails to end the crisis.

While it is too early to know exactly how the Mumbai strikes were planned and executed, one thing seems clear: This attack is the most significant terrorist attack since the Sept. 11 attack against the United States.

The terrorists launched a sophisticated, multi-pronged attack into a city of 18 million residents. This requires planning, training, funding, and detailed reconnaissance. The targets were chosen carefully to achieve maximum effect. The terrorists hit hotels, a train station, a movie house, a residential complex, and a hospital--all soft targets. They also were able to plant bombs in taxis as well as capture a police van, which was then used in a drive-by shooting spree.

The assault teams--there is no other way to describe them--coordinated and synchronized their attacks to overwhelm Mumbai security. The terrorists were able to take a significant number of hostages. They knew where to find foreigners and wealthy Indians--at the five star hotels.

Past attacks in Indian cities and in other parts of the world may have had higher death tolls, but they failed to achieve the results of Mumbai. The city has been completely shut down for two days, while the Hindustan Times said the country is gripped by a "fear psychosis." India's government has long treated the terrorist problem as a secondary issue. This will change. The mode of attack--assault teams launched into the heart of a major city--is already sending chills down the spines of security officials and governments throughout the world.