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Could Mumbai 26/11 have inspired Paris shootings?

'Mumbai 26/11 is a role model for Al Qaeda which for several years has been trying to carry out Mumbai style attack in Europe,' former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel told HT.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2015 09:04 IST
Yashwant Raj

Images of gunmen with backpacks walking around with AK-47 in Paris led to tentative comparisons to the Mumbai 2008 attacks, reinforced now with every passing day.

On Friday, two armed terrorists took hostages at a Kosher grocery store in Paris, in a chilling throwback to the attack on the Jewish Chabad House in Mumbai.

“Mumbai 26/11 is a role model for al Qaeda which for several years has been trying to carry out Mumbai style attack in Europe,” former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel told HT.

“The first attempt involved David Headley in Copenhagen,” he added, alluding to the Pakistani-American’s bid to bomb Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2009.

“This may be their work in Paris.”

Mumbai attack was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, but Headley, who had helped in its planning, brought the template to al Qaeda for use in an attack on the Danish newspaper.

An al Qaeda link has indeed been established to the Paris attacks. Said Kouachi, one of the shooters, was trained in Yemen by an affiliate in 2011, according to US intelligence.

He is reported to have received training in the small arms and other tactics for a few months, which explained to an extent how the Charlie Hebdo attack was carried out.

The image of a an armed gunman holding an AK-47 over a man lying on the ground, a French police officer, reminded observers of Ajmal Kasab, one of the 10 Mumbai shooters.

Observer also noted the discipline and calm manner in which the Paris shooters conducted themselves — showed they were no lone wolves inspired by some YouTube video.

“The attack was very complex. It was obviously less complex than 9/11 but it was tactically complex, that required planning, reconnaissance, logistics and support from above,” Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency told The Wall Street Journal.

“They clearly rehearsed this attack,” he added.

Mumbai 26/11 attackers had also trained intensively for months at Lashkar-i-Tayyeba’s camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir run with the help of Pakistani intelligence.