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'Mumbai terror attacks has hallmarks of al-Qaeda'

world Updated: Nov 27, 2008 21:19 IST
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The multiple terror attacks in Mumbai that have killed over 100 people have the "hallmarks" of the al-Qaeda, anti-terrorism experts have suggested, even as they indicated other well-known terror outfits with links to Pakistan may be behind the strikes.

The horrific attacks in Mumbai that have left over hundred people dead and involving a hostage situation has received widespread attention in the American media.

Bruce Riedel, a veteran CIA officer and former senior director for South Asia and the Middle East on the White House National Security Council, said the attacks had the hallmarks of an al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic group such as Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), which is based in Pakistan and has links to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

"India has been a major target of terrorism for the last several years, Bombay in particular," Riedel, one of the top advisors to US President-elect Barack Obama, has been quoted as saying in The Washington Times.

"The vast bulk of these attacks have been carried out by Islamic extremist groups such as Lashkar-e Taiba, which has close links to al-Qaeda," said Riedel, who is expected to figure in the next US administration in some prominent fashion, perhaps in South Asia.

Several well-known security specialists and former senior administration officials have taken the position that while the al-Qaeda is a good suspect to ponder about, other well known terror outfits with links to Pakistan like the Lakshar-e-Taiba may well have been behind the coordinated blasts.

The hotel fraternity also was caught unawares and said they would be more careful from now on and tighten security.

"We have set up fool-proof security. CCTVs, trained security personnel, armed guards and Delhi police officials but after this attack, we are taking it as a cautionary warning," says Ritu Bararia, Corporate Head, The Park hotel.

Anjali Chatterjee, GM Marketing, The Lalit (previously Intercontinental- The Grand) says, "We are doing what we can. Every industry has some limitations and being in the hospitality sector, its a bit diificult to take extreme measures sometimes. We need to monitor our security constantly."

Attributing the attack as a total lack of failure on the part of intelligence, Major General Surat Sandhu (Retd), says, "The government should form a anti-terrorist squad by army to keep vigil of all the sensitive zones of the country.