Remembering Maximum City's tryst with terror

Remembering Maximum City's tryst with terror


The attacks began on the night of Novermber 26 and ended almost 62 hours after on Nov 29.

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi Trident, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Nariman House,  Metro Cinema, and the lane behind Rangbhavan. Two taxis too were blasted by hidden explosives, one in Mazgaon and another at Vile Parle.

Timeline

9:30 pm: The first attack was on the CST, when two terrorists entered the passenger hall and opened fire, using AK-47 rifles. The attackers killed 52 people and injured 109 others, their assault ending at about 10:45 pm. One of the terrorists, Ajmal Kasab, was later captured alive and is standing the trial.

9:40 pm : At the same time, a pair of terrorists got down opposite the Leopold Cafe, a popular restaurant and bar on Colaba Causeway in South Mumbai. They entred the cafe, threw grenades and started firing on the guests inside. Two waiters and six guests were killed in the firing.

10:40 pm: About an hour later, one taxi exploded at Vile Parle, killing the driver and a passenger. The taxi was hired by terrorists when they had landed, and a time bomb had been placed underneath the seat.

Another taxi exploded at Wadi Bunder in Mazgaon area between 10.20 pm and 10.25 pm. Three people, including the driver of the taxi, were killed, and 15 others injured.
That taxi was initially hired by terrorists on landing, and it was Kasab who had planted the bomb before he alighted at CST.

9:50 pm: Soon after the Leopold attack, the two terrorists entered the Taj Mahal hotel from its rear gate, and joined two others who had already been there.

The Wasabi restaurant on the first floor of the Taj Hotel was completely gutted. There were four terrorists who began wreaking havoc inside. The 62 hours of battling left 10 Taj staffers and 31 guests dead. All the four terrorists too were killed by the NSG commandos.

The Mumbai police responded quickly, entering the Taj, but they realised that the battle was beyond their ability due to the sophisticated equipment the terrorists were carrying.

A team of Marine Commandos entered the hotel in the dark hours and rescued a number of people. The tower section of the hotel was secured, and the terrorists were now confined to the heritage section of the hotel. In the early hours of November 27, the NSG commandos took position and what began was a prolonged fight that lasted till November 29.

9:40 pm: Two terrorists who had sailed the rubber dinghy to Nariman Point went inside the Trident-Oberoi and began firing on the hapless guests. The terrorists moved in the Oberoi section, and went on its top floor.

9:50 pm: Nariman House, a Chabad Lubavitch Jewish center in Colaba, was taken over by two attackers and several residents were held hostage. The five-storey building in the congested area was stormed by NSG commandos, who were airdropped from a helicopter and, after a long battle, one NSG commando and two attackers were killed.

Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah Holtzberg, who was six months pregnant, were murdered with three other hostages inside the house by the attackers. The NSG operation ended at around 8.00 am on November 29, when all three remaining terrorists inside the Taj were killed. The commandos rescued 250 people from the Oberoi, 300 from the Taj and 12 from Nariman House.

11:45 pm: Kasab and Ismail had moved out of the CST and entered the Cama hospital lane. They entered the Cama hospital, went on the second floor and fought a pitched battle with a team of the Mumbai police.

The duo moved out and hid behind bushes in the lane. A police jeep approached and they opened massive fire on it. Three top cops, the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and inspector Vijay Salaskar,  were killed, along with three other constables.

The terrorists hijacked the jeep and went towards Vidhan Bhavan, firing at a crowd at Metro cinema. At Vidhan Bhavan, one of the tyres of the jeep was deflated and so they hijacked a Skoda car. The car was stopped at Girgaum chowpatti by the police. In the encounter, Ismail was killed while Kasab was caputred alive.

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