No Group Claims Responsibility For Mumbai Attack

Originally published on July 14, 2011 6:56 am
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Mary Louise Kelly.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

What kind of attacks were these?

MARK MAGNIER: Well, basically they were coordinated. They all occurred within about 16 or 17 minutes. The timing was just at rush hour to do maximum damage. They occurred in three spots - one in central Mumbai and two in southern Mumbai - all densely packed, either eatery areas or bizarres.

INSKEEP: Are these upscale areas of the sort that were attacked in the huge attacks in Mumbai at the end of 2008?

MAGNIER: No. it has a different signature. Unlike the earlier attacks in 2008, which saw major international hotels get hit and the Jewish center, these were very local. They - most of the names involved would not have much resonance beyond India.

INSKEEP: So a different kind of attack. It didn't seem to involve armed gunmen either, as the 2008 attack did, is that correct? This was bombs.

MAGNIER: Correct. Yes, correct.

INSKEEP: Now, the next question has to do with responsibility. We mentioned that Pakistan has been blamed for past attacks, or people from Pakistan have been blamed for past attacks, including the 2008 attack in Mumbai, which was blamed on a group operating out of Pakistan. But I noticed that Indian officials have been very careful, this time around, not to say the word Pakistan as they consider who might have done this.

MAGNIER: They are careful. They have just gotten talks back on track after 2008, which were derailed because of the perceived connection to Pakistani militant groups. And sort of the comment I got from some of the experts I spoke with, was that this wasn't so well organized. The Pakistanis would've organized it better. So that suggests domestic groups.

INSKEEP: Well, let's remember that India has a number of militant groups, rebel groups - is that fair to say - in various parts of the country.

MAGNIER: It is true. At this point the government, as you mentioned, has been very careful to say we have no direct suspicion and we are keeping all of our options open. But the kind of usual suspects include the Indian Mujahideen, a homegrown group of Muslim discontents, essentially; the Maoist or Naxalite groups that control large swaths of the country; and even organized crime, which is very active in Mumbai.

INSKEEP: Now, obviously, Mr. Magnier, when the 2008 attacks happened, they were the only thing that was news in India and the only thing for a while that was news around the world. These smaller attacks, are they dominating the conversation in the news in India?

MAGNIER: Absolutely. I think there's a real feeling of anger that you see the next morning. There were lots of promises made. There were all sorts of assurances that after 2008 that the system would better protect its citizens. And you're seeing an outpouring, both by those who were witness to the attacks, as well as online, Facebook and elsewhere, of real anger at their officials for not protecting them better.

INSKEEP: Mr. Magnier, thanks very much.

MAGNIER: Thank you very much, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.