Were terrorists aiming to blow up Taj hotel?

November 29th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Did the terrorists who had raided the Taj hotel have a larger plan of blowing up the iconic 105-year-old hotel just across the road from the landmark Gateway of India?That is a lead the investigators are probing considering that right through the 60-hour, tense hostage drama the assailants neither made any demands nor attempted to hold any negotiations with the authorities.

Fears that the terrorists - numbering at least 10, nine of whom have been killed - might have had a bigger gameplan while staking out in the five-star hotel only heightened after police recovered two live bombs, each weighing eight kilograms, from the dead terrorists.

“We have sent the bombs for forensic testing to see if it had RDX. We will know in a couple of days,” said an investigator.

“We will also find out after questioning Ajmal Amin Kamal, the lone young gunman who was nabbed alive, if the assailants wanted to blow up the hotel.”

Kamal, who has been whisked away by the intelligence agencies to an undisclosed location, has reportedly said that members of the group had undergone training in firearms and explosives besides attending a camp that focused on marine drills.

According to Maharashtra Home Minister R.R Patil, preliminary investigations revealed that “the terrorists wanted to kill more than 5,000 people in the attack”.

Besides the two live bombs, GPS equipment and sophisticated satellite phones were also recovered from them.

The Arabia Sea-facing 565-room heritage hotel, imposing in its grandness that can be immediately spotted by anyone approaching Mumbai by air, was the last of Mumbai’s 10 locations to be sanitised by the security forces. It was cleared of the last three terrorists Saturday morning.

The last time RDX was used in the country’s financial hub that has borne the brunt of several high-profile terror attacks was in 1993. A series of 13 bomb explosions rocked Mumbai then. The coordinated attacks were the most destructive bomb explosions that resulted in 257 being killed.

But this one was by far the the biggest and could have been potentially most devastating, with many now calling it India’s 9/11.

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