Incident Summary:

11/26/2008: On Wednesday night around 2300, four armed assailants carried out an extended attack on the Taj Mahal and Tower Hotel. This location is the last of eight coordinated attacks at various locations in Mumbai that killed a total of 171 people and wounded 250 over the course of three days. The four assailants at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel were identified as Hafeez Arshad alias Bada Abdul Rehman, Javed alias Abu Ali, Shoaib alias Soheb, and Nazeer alias Abu Umer. Throughout the night they used hand grenades, automatic weapons, and explosives causing a fire in the hotel. By 0530, the fire was contained but the assailants had taken 100-150 hostages in the hotel's club. Police, army, and fire rescue personnel worked to apprehend the assailants, free the hostages, and control the fire. At 1400 on 11/29/2008, officials regained control of the Taj and all assailants had been killed. 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:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Barricade Incident)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Business
Name of Entity Taj Mahal and Tower Hotel.
Specific Description The Taj Mahal and Tower Hotel was targeted in the attack.
Nationality of Target India
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 100
US Hostages Unknown
Days of Kidnapping 3
Outcome Combination
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Grenade
Explosives Unknown Explosive Type
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Weapon Details
Grenades were used in the attack. AK-47s were used in the attack.
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 (Event IDs 200811130010, 200811260001, 200811260002, 200811260005, 200811260003, 200811260009 and 200811260010). 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. The available sources listed the fatalities for these attacks cumulatively as 171, and the injuries for these attacks cumulatively as 250, so these figures have been distributed evenly for these incidents in which no specific details were given in order to preserve statistical accuracy in the database. It is unclear the number of hostages taken during the event and it is unclear whether some of the hostages were US citizens in the incident. Most of the hostages were rescued and some were killed.
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 4
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 68 Fatalities / 76 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 68
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 4
Total Number of Injured 76
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Press Trust of India, "Ismail Killed tTree Cops at Cama: Ajmal," Press Trust of India, November 12, 2008.
Somni Sengupta and Keith Bradsher, "India Faces Reckoning as Terror Toll Eclipses 170," New York Times, November 29, 2008,
Timfs of India, "Cops Sealed CST Duo's Fate," Times of India, November, November 4, 2008.