An e-mail written by a friend of a friend a man closely associated with the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai provides more details from the terrorist attacks (the Islamist incursion) there. Information from that e-mail is extracted and summarized here (with some additions from other sources):
The e-mail was written at 10:45 last Friday morning, "after almost 37 hrs of sustained flushing out operations by the National Security Guard Black Cat commandos, Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police ...... a combined operation of all security forces." In it, he talked about the attacks, labeled by the media there as "India's 9/11" and considered an invasion of India, and the toll they took on the hotel staff. Battles were continuing, at that point, at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, at the Oberoi Hotel, and at the Nariman House (home of the Chabad House Jewish outreach center). He gives some specifics I haven't seen other places.
At least 17 senior hotel staff died in the terrorists' initial charge into the hotel, including chef Banja and the young chef Boris (son of the Taj's legendary Goan chef Cruz Rego of Divaar). Most of these were shot at point blank range. A number of other hotel staff members apparently also died protecting hotel guests. Seldom was anyone spared. (Even so, the staff apparently kept up their tradition of immaculate service as best they could.)
The terrorists moved to the executive suites on the sixth floor corner suites 643-649. Escaped colleagues and others could only watch helplessly from near the Gateway of India as the terrorists attacked this section with guns and grenades, setting the suites on fire. The wife and two children of the hotel's general manager Karimbir Kang died in one of these suites while he helped shepherd hotel guests to safety.
The writer summarizes what he knows about the attacks from observation, escaped staff members, and the news media (the Wall Street Journal has another summary):
A new expose on 'Z news' says that 2 of the terrorists had checked in earlier at the Taj while 2 young men had taken casual jobs 2-3 months back in the banquetting dept. The degree of planning that has gone into this strike amazes. The entire execution of the plan from its start at Karachi in a 'seized' Indian fishing vessel, the landing near Cuffe Parade, the grouping of 10 Pakistani and 2 local terrorists close to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the railway headquarters at Badhwar Park, the diversionary tactics in blowing the gas station, the assault on backpack foreign tourists at the popular Cafe Leopold, the charge thru the weakly manned staff entry gate of the Taj hotel, the commando type movement thru the service galleys of the hotel in the first basement emerging up to the lobby, scattering bullets on all and sundry in the lobby at 10 pm, the swift move spraying bullets on staff and guests in the reception area and restaurants (including the Golden Dragon, Zodiac, Shamiana and Masala Craft) before sprinting up the grand stairway of the old Taj Palace ...... finally settling in the 6th floor .......... all speaks of intense planning. That the hotels were warned 2 months earlier by the Intelligence Bureau is now a standard warning carried out consciously by terror groups to give them time to study the security preparations of targets.* This has seldom failed as the psyche of fear and panic in India (or elsewhere) are now well understood by terror groups.One of the things made possible by the terrorists' observations of Mumbai's responsive security preparations was the murders of the chief and senior members of the Anti-Terror Squad, and of the police commissioner, in the early phase of the attack.* It has been noted since that the additional security measures put in place at that time, which were relaxed a few days before the attack, would have had no effect on the attack on the Taj as it occurred.
The writer provides a good summary of what is behind this and similar attacks. He notes the terror outfits (i.e. Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami, Jamiatul Mujaheedin, etc.) are all creations of the Al Qaeda. The ability of these terror outfits to cross India's borders and execute strikes whenever and wherever at will all speaks, he says, of the extreme decay of evil minds among us. He notes that "such minds have no religion, no faith, no colour and no language" only evil.
Others are noticing their depravity, as well. The Muslim Jama Masjid Trust says the terrorists were not true followers of Islam and refused to allow their burial in the Badakabrastan graveyard they control. A trust spokesman said "People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime." Several Islamic scholars have backed the Trust's decision. Because of this Trust's influence, none of the seven other Muslim cemeteries is likely to accept the bodies, either, and their final disposition is in question. (Gee, maybe that's a good thing!)
Even with all the terror and destruction, the writer ends on a hopeful note.
Voices hope that this may be a divine blessing (in disguise) to unify all leaders, crossing all political and national barriers, all interests, thus creating one common aim for the good of all mankind.
The fight against terror. The beginning of a new world order.
The prophecy of Nostradamus, that of a new golden era in the World, of a long period of peace, may not be very far.