India: Homegrown Terror or International Jihad?

[Jerusalem Post] Benedetta Berti - India is reeling from the worst series of terrorist attacks in its history. The Deccan Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility, is apparently linked with the Indian Mujahideen (IM), a splinter group of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). In the past six months, four IM attacks in major Indian cities claimed the lives of over 140 people. IM's previous attacks consisted of a series of coordinated, simultaneous blasts aimed at causing the highest number of casualties. A senior officer of the Indian Police Service, briefing parliament on the group's September 2008 attack in Delhi, stated: "This group...doesn't attack parliament or police stations. They go directly for maximum chaos and maximum financial damage." Following the Delhi blasts, the IM threatened to hit Mumbai in its next operation. The highly coordinated and planned nature of the attacks, as well as the terrorists' modus operandi, also suggest the existence of a strong international connection between IM and international as well as regional terrorist groups. The Mumbai operation was qualitatively more sophisticated and deadly and shared several characteristics of al-Qaeda's operational strategy: the choice of targets, the deliberate decision to kill the maximum number of Western citizens, the simultaneous use of suicide missions, as well as hostage-taking. Thus, it is clear that the terrorist organization has received assistance and backing from al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations and has adopted an international jihadist agenda. The writer is a Neubauer Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

2008-11-28 01:00:00

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