Incident Summary:

11/26/2008: On Wednesday night, two assailants attacked a Jewish community center in Nariman house in Colaba in a series of eight coordinated attacks at various locations in Mumbai on 11/26/2008 to 11/29/2008 in which a total of 171 people were killed and 250 were wounded. The two assailants who attacked the Jewish community centre in Nariman house in the Colaba area were identified as Nasir alias Abu Umar from Faisalabad and Babar Imran alias Abu Akasha from Multan. At the Jewish center, perpetrators took hostage Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg; Holtsberg's wife, Rivka; and four other visitors to the center. The Holtzbergs' 2-year-old son, Moshe, was whisked out of the building by his nanny and another worker. A passerby was killed when the two attackers stepped out on the balcony and opened fire on an alley nearby. All six hostages were discovered dead when officials stormed the Jewish center after two days of the siege. Deccan Mujahedeen, a previously unknown group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The claim has not been confirmed. Officials suspected Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) were responsible for the attack, although a spokesman for the LeT denied its involvement. Ajmal Kasab, an assailant captured on 11/26/2008, told authorities that the attack was a plan devised six months prior that hoped to kill 5,000 people, targeting whites who were preferably Americans or British. According to Kasab, the assailants posed as students during a visit to Mumbai during the previous month to familiarize themselves with the city’s roads and to film the “strike locations”. Kasab confessed to being a member of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), belonging to the LeT’s Fidayeen (suicide squad). He also identified the masterminds of the attack, who were detained after a raid on an LeT camp on 12/07/2008 and formally indicted on 05/12/2009 for their involvement in the attacks. In May 2010, Kasab was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the attacks.




South Asia

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
The attack took place at the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish center in Colaba, Mumbai.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Barricade Incident)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity Chabad-Lubavitch center
Specific Description A Jewish center, the Nariman/Chabad-Lubavitch center, was targeted in the attack.
Nationality of Target India
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 6
US Hostages 0
Days of Kidnapping 2
Outcome Hostage(s) killed (not during rescue attempt)
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Grenade
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information This was one of eight related attacks (cf. 200811130010, 200811260002, 200811260005, 200811260003, 200811260006, 200811260009 and 200811260010). It is unknown how long the hostages were detained before being killed. Three Pakistan controllers who communicated with and instructed the assailants during the attack were identified as Abdul Wajid alias Zarar Shah, Abu Hamza and Abu Qafa. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil were the planners behind the attack. A leading commander of the LeT group, admitted he advised the terrorists by telephone as the attack unfolded. Controllers in Pakistan watched live television and warned the gunmen of the arrival of Indian commandos, according to evidence amassed by the FBI and handed over to the Pakistani government. The American agency had decoded Skype calls over the internet that were made between the gunmen in the two five-star hotels and a Jewish hostel in Mumbai with their Lashkar controllers in Pakistan. Talking in colloquial Punjabi, the controllers repeatedly told the attackers to “Aag lagao” (“Light the fire”), which has been interpreted in India as a way of maximizing casualties. During the conversation, the men were also instructed to kill all the Israelis who were held captive in the Jewish hostel, but to spare all the Muslims. He confirmed that the 10 assailants were trained in Pakistani Kashmir and then travelled by boat from Karachi to Mumbai.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Deccan Mujahideen Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Unknown)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Fidayeen Unknown
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 2
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 9 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 9
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 2
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
New York Times, "At Least 100 Dead in India Terror Attacks," New York Times, November 26, 2008,
Times of India, "Cops Sealed CST duo's Fate," Times of India, November 11, 2008.
Sindh Today, "Railways Announce Compensation for Mumbai Terror Victims," Sindh Today, December 2, 2008.