tv Terror in Mumbai CNN November 24, 2013 6:00pm-7:31pm PST
has this gervais syndrome, but thank god we've got something now that's working. >> she's doing so great today. >> on november 26, 2008, the world watched in horror as the most significant terrorist attack since 9/11 flickered across television screens. my first reaction as i watched was to call my mother. you see, i grew up in mumbai. my mother still lives there and she has an office at the taj
mahal hotel. the site of some of the most gruesome killings that evening. luckily she was out of town. my sister lives across the street from the trident. when special forces arrived, some stationed themselves in her apartment fired at the gunmen from there. my nieces kept some of the shells as souvenirs. the mumbai attacks should worry us all. a handful of lightly armed men with little training were able to throw one of the world's great cities into total chaos, a small group with little connection to al qaeda expanded its ambitions seeking greater attention through greater acts of cruelty. what you're about to watch is unique. all terrorist attacks so far have been reconstructed or recounted from the point of view of the survivors, witnesses and first responders. this time you are with the terrorists. you will hear the voices of the young men on the ground in mumbai. you will hear their masters in pakistan. and you will also see the
victims, men, women and children and hear from those who survived. it is the first 360-degree view of terrorism. november 26, 2008, an organization determined to surpass al qaeda as the world's most feared terrorist group sent ten gunmen to mumbai, india's biggest city. their mission was to kill and keep on killing. to stage a spectacle so terrifying that the world could no longer ignore lashkar-e-taiba, the army of the righteous. indian intelligence intercepted the terrorists' cell phone conversations with their commanders in pakistan.
>> they were very calm, not shouting, not excited. they were doing their job as a matter of fact. >> one gunman was captured alive. for the army of the righteous, it was a test run for future operations, not just in india, but perhaps elsewhere. their method of attack could easily be adapted to any american city. no hijacked airliners or sophisticated weaponry, just ten young men with mobile phones and
at dusk, ten gunmen arrive off mumbai on a hijacked fishing trawler. the crew is killed, the captain left alive to navigate. later that night indian intelligence would monitor calls between the terrorists in mumbai and a group of older men who were remote controlling the operation from across the border in pakistan, india's long-time enemy. under cover of darkness they landed in a fisherman's slum next to one of the wealthiest parts of mumbai. splitting up into teams of two they said their last goodbyes and hailed taxis to take them to their targets which were all
11 people died at the leopold cafe and 20 people were wounded. at the same time another pair of gunmen were approaching mumbai's railway station. chatrapati shivaji terminus better known as victoria terminus or vt. again, one of them left a bomb in the taxi. he was ajmal asmir kasab, who later that night would be captured and interrogated. at the station kasab and his
at the station kasab and his accomplices mingle with those they had come to kill. they were ordinary people from every part of india, traveling to a wedding, a village, a temple. workers laden with holiday gifts, muslim families heading home for the festival of eid. at seven minutes to 10:00, kasab and his men opened their backpacks and took out assault rifles.
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grabbed a rifle from a terrified comrade. it jammed. when kasab returned fire, the policeman hurled a plastic chair. now the gunman fired through the station windows shooting down a plain clothes policeman. the wednesday night traffic passed by, the drivers oblivious to the horror inside. an hour and a half had passed since kasab and ishmael came ashore with their eight accomplices. now they walked out of the station and melted into the darkness. with the terrorists gone, the railway police rush out of hiding, weapons at the ready. kasab and ishmael had killed 52 people at the station and wounded more than 100.
they don't know. is it a terrorist planned by a big organization? we don't know. is it planned by the underworld? we don't know. >> the police had no plan or training for such an attack. the joint commissioner found himself unexpectedly in charge of the control room. he didn't know who the gunmen were or where they would attack next. >> we received calls from our mobiles that it appears they are moving towards the police headquarters. in addition to looking at the control room one also had to fortify this complex. >> now the bombs kasab and his colleagues had planted in their taxis had exploded, killing the drivers and their passengers. >> there was a taxi blast at two
places. there is an attack on the four seasons. so we felt that the whole city was under a siege and under attack. >> amidst the chaos the anti-terrorist police began scanning cell phone frequencies in the hope of intercepting any calls the gunmen might be making. with hundreds of thousands of voices on the airwaves, their chances were almost zero. but earlier that year undercover agents had fed a batch of 35 sim cards to the pakistani terrorist group lashkar-e-taiba.
intelligence officers discovered three of the sim cards had been activated that night. suddenly they were listening in on conversations between the terrorists and their masters. >> the gunmen were calling an internet number bought from a company in new jersey using money transfers from pakistan. once indian intelligence locked on to the controllers' internet number they could listen to all the gunmen's calls. little use was made of them by
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as scores of people were being gunned down at the railway station another pair of clean cut pakistani boys in their early 20s blasted through the entrance of one of mumbai's five-star hotels, the trident oberoi. the lead gunman was fahadulla, who wore black. fahadulla and his accomplice killed nine staff and three guests in the lobby.
then they headed for the hotel restaurants. at a popular eatery he murdered 13 diners. kiani was shot five times and left for dead beside her family and friends. >> the whole place was very silent. i couldn't see my friends. whenever i tried to look, i also saw shihad. she was in the same position from the time she got shot and so was my cousin and his wife. i tried to nudge my cousin's leg because i was close enough to do that. i think i succeeded but he didn't move. >> bewildered by the ferocity of the attack, the police made no organized attempt to storm the hotel. rishma kiani would lay bleeding on the floor for the next 16 hours before she was finally rescued.
hearing the gun fire, hotel guests bolted their doors. fear drove some of them on the the window ledges. the terrorists detonated a bomb in the tea lounge and rounded up survivors from the hotel restaurants. a group of 15 were marched to the top of the service staircase. among them was a turkish businessman and his wife. >> the one in black told the woman to go up the stairs so we were pressed there and like in a crowded bus. all of a sudden he raises his gun and at that moment my wife screamed out, stop, stop, he's from turkey. he's from istanbul. he's muslim, and he made the gesture.
i threw myself face down and he started to shoot and all the bodies were falling on me. and i was buried under the bodies from my waist down. >> they left five people alive, saifi, his wife and three other women. the other ten had been gunned down on the narrow landing. >> you can hear them, some of them were not dead yet. you can hear the sounds of their last -- i don't know. and we had to, you know, step over those people. >> i said, look, i step on the back of this man then on the neck of that man and i will hold your hand.
i ushered four women over the bodies and i told them not to slip on the blood. it was so slippery. i have never known that blood can be so slippery. >> at the same time as the attack on the trident oberoi, two backpackers strolled into the taj, the most exclusive hotel in the city. each carried an assault rifle, pistol, hand grenades, hundreds of bullets and enough dried fruits and nuts to last a couple of days. they began killing anyone in their sights. they were soon joined by the two terrorists who just killed 11 civilians at the leopold cafe a block away. the newcomers narrowly avoided bullets meant for hotel guests.
>> once they set some rooms on fire, the four terrorists began searching for more guests to kill. amid and tersha were about to hold their wedding reception at the hotel. >> we saw a couple of dead bodies and we heard a couple of people outside of our room talking in a strange language. >> the next thing we heard was them dragging a lady out from the room next door. and she was shouting. she was shouting a lot. and then the next thing we heard, like, she was pushed into the room and she was shot. >> they didn't just shoot her a couple of times. they constantly kept shooting at her. >> she was crying in pain as if she was asking for some kind of help. but there was nothing that could be done.
security staff they headed for the cctv monitoring room. they were led by deputy commissioner. >> we have seen four terrorists on the sixth floor. and they are wearing this dress and that dress. we went to the control room. >> for several hours the cops in the taj watched the terrorists on cctv. they were able to relay to headquarters exactly where the terrorists were and what they were doing.
as the fire took hold the policemen were driven from the hotel. the naval commandos still hadn't come. poor communication and leadership meant the mumbai police missed vital chances to stop the terrorists during the crucial first hour when most of the killing happened. the mumbai police chief failed to take charge of the situation. instead he left his lead investigator to run the control room, a man more used to dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack. >> we are used to a blast, we go to the spot, clear the area, sanitize the area, collect evidence and begin our investigation. >> by attacking multiple targets the terrorists had hoped to
plunge the police into chaos. they succeeded completely. >> we were prepared for a terror strike but maybe at one location. four or five locations simultaneously and going into hotels and taking hotels, all these things contributed to, you know, making the situation very, very difficult one. >> barely a stone's throw from police headquarters, kasab and ishmael, the two who had slaughtered passengers at the railway station were looking to regroup. they drifted down a back street, towards a row of shacks.
>> leaving him to die on the floor of his shack, the gunmen jumped over a gate into the women's hospital next door. alerted by the gun fire at the nearby railway station, 450 patients, relatives and staff had locked themselves in the wards. a civil servant had also heard the gun fire and thought the hospital would be a safe place to hide. >> on the stairs he bumped into ishmael, kasab's accomplice.
>> her daughter would be born safely an hour after the terrorists had left. meanwhile, the head of mumbai's anti-terrorist squad had arrived near the hospital. over the next 40 minutes he and two other senior police command rs would make repeated calls for armed backup. it never came. finally he and his colleagues drove down a back street to cut off the terrorists' likely escape route from the hospital. the three commanders rode in the front of a jeep, four policemen squeezed in the back. the gunmen had already left the hospital and were looking for a car to hijack. he was one of the cops in the back of the jeep.
at the hospital, but the police were in meltdown and orders did not lead to action. the three dead commanders were well known names in mumbai. >> when the information came to the control room that the three commanders are dead, that moment then everything stands still. a few, one or two seconds, i think they will haunt me for the rest of my life. they were some of the best officers, i would say, in the country. these are the people who are leaders. the challenge before the leadership at that time was motivating the men to continue the fight, to continue facing the terrorists.
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>> it wasn't the first time lashkar-e-taiba had attacked mumbai. they exploded bombs before, killing hundreds but attracting little international attention. this time it would be different. now lashkar-e-taiba was showing its supporters in pakistan and the middle east that it could stage a spectacle the whole world would watch. >> less than a mile from the burning taj, at the oberoi hotel, there were hostages still being held together with three
other hostages. >> i was trying to take care of the singapore lady. she was very scared. >> a 28-year-old lawyer in mumbai for a one-day seminar. >> i put her in my daughter's shoes and i thought if she would have been on a business trip alone and what would have happened? >> they took us out of the room, made us all lean on the wall and they were talking on the phone and they said, go away from the wall. >> all of a sudden they just shot those women, three women. >> and that young singapore girl, she was crying so loud that she knew they were being shot. it was terrible. i still hear her screams.
>> and i was let's pray for those people and we started to pray. >> and we both raised our hands and read the same sura from the koran spoken for the dead so they were shocked, the terrorists. >> i said to my husband, they are going to kill us also. now is our turn. >> they said to go into the room. she said, no, let them shoot us here. i said, no, we don't go. you kill here. we leaned on the same wall. he said, no kill. you brothers. go in. >> and they left. we didn't believe it. you don't believe it. >> as the eight gunmen launched their attacks on the hotels and the railway station the fifth pair threaded their ways through the alleyways through south
mumbai to a jewish study center, nariman house. brother wasi reminded the two gunmen, killing a jew was worth far more than killing a guest at the taj hotel. the center was run by rabbi gabrielle holtzberg and his pregnant wife. their 2-year-old son had been put to bed. the neighbors heard what happened when the rabbi and his wife confronted the gunmen. >> the two gunmen killed the rabbi, his wife and two houseguests. they took two women hostage. then they turned their attention to the crowd gathering outside.
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then they made him speak to brother in pakistan. >> translator: he said to leave the lines free and they are calling -- they are calling the prime minister and the army in india. >> brother wasi had promises her that he would release her and the other hostage in exchange for him. >> sit back and relax and don't worry and just wait for them to contact, okay? . >> he briefed the gunman on what to say to the indian government.
he warned him not to let slip that the rabbi and his wife had already been murdered. >> as the terrorists waited for them to call, their 2-year-old son warned among the bodies including those of his mother and father. the little boy's nanny who had hidden inside the house overnight had snatched him and escaped. [ gunfire ] >> after much di lay, 400
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brother wasi's work was done. for three days the terrorists he directed had dominated the world's headlines. the identity of brother wasi and the other controllers still has not been established. in his interrogation kasab, the sole surviving gunman, named the mastermind of the operation. zaki-ur rehman lakhvi, the head of the lashkar-e-taiba, has been arrested by the pakistani authority. his trial is being held in secret.
kasab has confessed his part in the attack. >> we broke him psychologically. we realized we had told him if you commit jihad and you die for the cause, there is a scent emanating from your dead body, there is a glow on the face. so we asked him who told you this? he said the instructors told us this is what happened. they had seen people who died fighting for jihad. this is what happens. we did take him to the morgue and we showed him the nine dead bodies there.
the shock on his face i think it dawned on him that whatever he had done he was taken for a ride by the instructors and there was no truth whatsoever in what they had told him. >> joint commissioner, the mumbai chief of police, has been moved from his post and given responsibility for police housing. 170 people died in the attack on mumbai. many were muslims, including 12-year-old afroz.
it remains close to its backers within the pakistani intelligence services. pakistan has an arsenal of nuclear warheads and is one of america's key allies. during the attack, lashkar-e-taiba controller had briefed one of the mumbai gunmen on what to say when the media called. >> we have just been warned by the terrorists that the main film is yet to come. the horror we have seen is
simply the trailer. how worried should we be? let me give you some background. the group responsible for these attacks, lashkar-e-taiba, was created to wage war in kashmir, the territory that has been under dispute with india and pakistan since 1947. lashkar was supported by the pakistani military. whilst support has waned, there is little evidence that pakistan's generals are making any serious effort to shut down what has become a vast organization within their country. lashkar's stated goals go beyond kashmir to all of south asia. it pamphlets are filled with attacks on hindus and jews. like al qaeda which began with limited goals, it could be morphing into something larger and much more sinister. but terrorism is waged by individuals. we saw these young peasant boys who had little education and no prospects in their country.
they are the ones who enlist for the jihad. we have political and ideological forces on one hand and the simple despair of young men on the other. the two have combined to create a deadly mix. the only way this movie will end well is if we tackle both sides of this problem. we need to get the military and foreign policy right. we also need to help change the sense of hopelessness and culture of hate that exists in these societies. we need to help these young men you just watched embrace life rather than death.
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