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Hazard Analysis on Terrorist Attacks of 26/11 in India

On 26th November 2008, Mumbai (India) was under the brutal assault of terrorism as 10 members of Lashkar e Toiba (Islamic militant organization) entered the city via boats carried out a co-ordinated siege killing 166 people & injuring over 300 others. Terrorists open fired & placed bombs at places i.e Taj Hotel, Leopold Café, Cama Hospital, CST Station, Nariman House & Oberoi Hotel. It took 3 full days to halt the attack as defence forces such as QRT (Quick response team), ATS (Anti Terrorist Squads), local police were no match to terrorists as they lacked proper equipments to fight them. NSG (National Security Guards) were then deployed by Indian Govt to take control of the situation. This paper will analyze the attacks & further try to provide an optimum solution to minimize damages from such sieges in future.


Terrorist attacks are difficult to control & monitor at same time as they are man made hazards with a strong motive which heavily alters. There is a need to counter spontaneous hazard with a defined plan and importantly avoid mistakes which were repeated previously. In the case of Mumbai attacks, the equipment were lacking i.e. Terrorists were well equipped with AK-47, grenades, IEDs (RDX) & bulletproof vests whereas local police force lacked bulletproof vests, and their 0.303 carbines were no match against AKs. The intelligence system was proficient in their task but couldn’t transfer the information lucidly. The QRTs (Quick response team) which are well versed to deal with such sieges were a failure because the deployment of troops was chaotic. ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) & Assualt mobiles had able equipment to defend the city but didn’t have practice & mock drills necessary to carry out the task efficiently. The collective failure of system is to be scrutinized upon in order to come up with a feasible solution.


FIG. 1. Affected places (by terrorist attack) are marked with a white circle

The white spots are the affected places & the arrow indicated above is point of entry of the terrorists.

It was a well co-ordinated siege with strong wireless communication with headquarters which clearly implies that strategies used by terrorists were professional & they were well trained. As per intelligence reports, there was a threat looming over cities of Delhi & Mumbai. Mumbai was a prime target as its located at coast & compared to India’s capital which is located well inside the country, its easier to infiltrate fringe elements in order to de-stabilize the nation. There was also an intelligence report that stated a possibility of air-borne attack or sea- borne attack between August 2006 & April 2008 (as many as 6 alerts on possibility of a sea borne attack) but as Mumbai local police had only experienced attacks through timed explosive devices (IEDs) they were baffled by the siege. There was an increase in the amount of security throughout coastal areas of Mumbai but no speed boats were provided. However, it is known that at the time of entry of terrorists, there were 5 police boats patrolling sea front at Cuffe Parade but around 21:00 pm, the coastal guards were near Worli (which is 7.8 miles from Colaba) to solve an ongoing dispute between fishermen so the terrorists sneaked in. The events happened in following sequence which led to utter chaos – First call to control room at 21:48 hours regarding foreigners being injured – At 21:50 hours Tourist mobile was shot– At 21:54 reports on Taj firing emerged – 21:56 hours Oberoi firing occurred – 21:59 CST firing was reported & at 22:53 a taxi exploded at Vile Parle. Out of all the mentioned areas, Vile Parle which is 17 miles away from the prime targets tricked police officers into thinking there was a presence of terrorists at that location when in reality there were none present and the explosion was by the means of IED bombing system (RDX). Due to these random occurrence of events at different locations, the communication system was almost paralyzed as the control room received over 1365 calls from 21:00 until 02:00. There was a rumor that 60 terrorists had entered the city. The police were outnumbered as they all were in action at different spots. The police responded quickly but they approached it normally as another law & order duty so by that time terrorists had positioned themselves advantageously at strategic locations. They were under equipped with 0.303 carbine rifles, lathis & gas guns with no protective gear against terrorists who had AK-47s, grenades, sophisticated cell phone, pistols etc which is more of a failure of system. Also, the local police lacked the stealth tactics which deal with such sieges. After the reports, there was also a QRT (Quick response team) trained to combat such an infiltration but they lacked mock drills & inadequate protection to tackle the terrorists. There were police guards stationed at Taj Hotel as it was suspected to be one of the prime targets, it was a bizarre decision taken by Senior police inspector to withdrew them as they need guards to be deployed at other places. The terrorists had a specific target group in Americans & Jewish as they believed they are the reasons for their plight in Pakistan. There was a hostage situation at Nariman House, where Jews resided. Although no one got harmed due to heroics of local police and then involvement of NSG (National Security Guard). Here are the demographics of death toll –

Nationality Deaths Injured
India 139 256
United States 6 3
Italy 1
Israel 7
Germany 3 3
Australia 2 2
Canada 2 2
United Kingdom 1 7
France 2
Others 8 12

Chart No. 1 indicating death tolls by nationalities

Sixty-eight people died from bullet injuries, 30 from blast injuries, and 10 had both bullet and blast injuries. Six were postoperative deaths (all bullet injuries), of which two were early postoperative deaths and four late postoperative deaths due to septicemia. On 26/11/2008 QRT was deployed in four teams. Two officers and 8 men at CST, Two Officers and 9 men at Cama, Only 6 men at Taj and two officers and 9 men at Oberoi. They weren’t able to make assault.

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There was no chance of a police response when Leopold Café was under attack by terrorists at about 2130 hrs. 2 terrorists suddenly walked in and began firing in a hap-hazard manner. The initial call to the Control room at about 2150 hrs did not indicate any details except that some people were injured. Colaba-1 which has a staff of 5 men with 2 SLR and gas guns reached the spot within minutes. By that time the terrorists had already started hastening towards Taj and might have even reached there. Within a short time 9 persons were dead and 21 injured including, two policemen of Colaba Police Station who were in mobile squads which rushed to the spot. After firing, the terrorists walked along nearby road spraying bullets along the way, killing and planting IED (RDX 8 kgs), on a side lane, which fortunately did not explode. The entire cordon around Taj & Leopold Café had to be managed by the local police. They noticed that the terrorists were very professionally trained & were using the tactics of “area clearing”  by throwing grenades. Had the police been able to counter attack with grenades (area weapons) they could have perhaps neutralized this attack. Finding themselves inadequate to counter attack and after deaths and injuries sustained by the police party they decided to exit. All the major killings in the lobby, Opium Den, Systems Room of the Trident, Brioni  shop situated in the passage connecting Oberoi with Trident, as well as the Tiffin coffee shop  of the Oberoi, had taken place before the police came. The RDX bomb placed out side Trident exploded at 2215. Like in the TAJ, the terrorists positioned  themselves on higher floor of the “Atrium” to direct attack on  the police. That made it impossible for the police to go across the vast ‘Atrium ‘.Moreover the RDX bomb placed adjacent to Oberoi lobby exploded at 2230 hours and caused much damage, igniting fires and making it impossible for anyone to carry out assault. Since they were no match to them in fire the police had to retreat. CST & Cama saw largest no. of deaths of police officers. The officers in the control room could not closely track the movements of both officers & terrorists as events were occurring simultaneously & control room wasn’t been keeping informed on regular basis. NSG (National Security Guards) arrived late on the site as they didn’t have a flight of their own & instead had to borrow one from Indian Air Force. NSG played a crucial role in minimizing the damages as they were well versed with combat strategies,had adequate ammunition & implemented it to precision alongwith help of local police & hotel staff. Media was juvenile in its approach as they live telecasted the entire rescue operation which further assisted the terrorists as they knew from where the guards are entering the hotel to rescue people. Media’s role although courageous was little immature & role of media during such incidences should be well defined.


To resolve or rather to minimize the destruction caused by terrorist attacks it is important to identify the nature & origin of such attacks & scenarios which led to it.

Chart No. 2 represents scenarios which can lead to a terrorist attack

IM  Motivation to destabilize a nation, Brain washed fanatics

EDP  Failure of system to respond collectively & lack of proper equipment

DM  Taj Hotel partially destroyed, vehicles burnt, other property damaged

Major Failures –

1) Officers making decisions individually & operating individually instead of responding collectively.

2) Govt inadequately funding QRT, ATS & local police authorities.

3) Distribution & ambiguity in authority lead to chaos.

4) Role of Media needs to be defined as their fanatics went in favor of terrorists.

5) Control Units were not efficient in differentiating attacks that lead to chaos.

6) No proper training to tackle such sieges despite of intelligence reports.

7) Lack of clarity regarding roles of different squads & forces.

8) NSG responded late due to lack of facilities.

9) Lack of practice, mock drills & firing which should be carried out on regular basis.

Equation to find DV –

v ∫DV= ∫∫∫GDVDM | dGDMEDP | dGEDPIM | dλ(IM)



Computing EDP –


λEDP (y) = ∫P [EDP > y | IM = x] | dλIM (x) | …………………………………………………………………….(2)


Motion Hazard Curve –


λIM (x) = P[IM > x] = kox-k ……………………………………………………………………………………….(3)


Median EDP-IM relationship –




EDP = a(IM)b] ……………………………………………………………………………………………………(4)


EDP Hazard Curve –




λEDP (y) = P[EDP > y] = ko [(y/a)1/b]-k exp [ 12 k2b2 σ2 InEDP|IM] ……………………………………………(5)


It is important to recognize EDP & IM so as to create a model which of-course wont limit or stop such sieges but instead would be helpful to analyze such grave situations with tactics. I’ve chosen 26/11 for obvious reasons as its more relatable but I would like to compare it with Paris attacks of 2015 which resulted in deaths of 130 people and several casualties.

FIG. 2. Obtained from Wikipedia  represents targeted places in Paris city by terrorists.[stars denote suicide bombings]

  1.   Near Stade de France
  2.   Rues Bichat and Alibert (Le Petit Cambodge; Le Carillon)
  3.   Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi (Café Bonne Bière; La Casa Nostra)
  4.   The Bataclan Theater
  5.   Rue de Charonne (La Belle Équipe)
  6.   Boulevard Voltaire (Comptoir Voltaire)

No. 1 represented on map is a huge stadium in France where bombs blew & No. 2,3 & 4 are places where shooting occurred. A simple search amongst affected locations on google maps was carried out and it was observed that no. 2,3 & 4 are just a 3/4th of a mile away from each other. Its noticeable that terrorists usually gang up in a group at places in vicinity of each other as it becomes easy to maneuver & gain control over a a single location. The terrorists just as in the case of Mumbai attacks were well equipped with Kalashnikovs, grenades etc. Although this attack is largely similar to Mumbai siege, difference is 4 of the places were heavily affected by suicide bombings unlike in Mumbai.


An attack of similar type was carried out in Paris in 2015 which resulted in deaths of 130 people despite of France having much better task force to combat such type of siege. A co-ordinated terrorist attack in general is difficult to gauge in terms of manpower & impact as initially when IEDs explode( as happened in case of Paris attacks) there is a sense of panic in citizens & its all very ambiguous until other attacks happen. So basically as a combat force you are looking for clarity & by the time things get clearer its very late as the siege is deep into the place & gains sufficient amount of control over it. Despite of such shortcomings & mystery in such forms of sieges, Paris combated it much better than Mumbai as they had able personnel to defend themselves & protect the citizens plus they were equipped handsomely with weapons, ammunitions etc required to fight terrorists. A model to be prepared for it is going to be very difficult to properly analyze the hazards & come up with an optimum solution or to guess the probability of occurrence of next attack as unlike natural hazards, these hazards are xenophobic in nature & driven by hatred. The attacks were basically fueled by hate & an agenda leading from brainwashing certain sects of society which further leads to crime.

In this case, DV is figured out in order to find a connection & semblance to Intensity measures, Engineering demand parameters & Damage measures.



Overall rating: 2

Specific rating:

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Just adding the specific questions that’re applicable as of now:


  1. Are manuscript results technically sound?




  1. Are the principal results new and of professional significance?




  1. Can the manuscript be shortened without loss of information or clarity?




  1. Is the manuscript complete with all sections, figures, and tables?


Yes, the paper is complete with all the required figures and tables.


  1. Are figures and tables numbered correctly?


Yes, the figures and tables are numbered. But the format can be changed


  1. Does the quality of any of the figures and tables need to be improved?




  1. Are the references cited sufficient and accurate?


Yes, the reference is sufficient.


  • (The Alignment of the paragraph should be changed to justify)
  • The Labeling of the figure can be changed as FIGURE 1 (Title)………….. every word in capital and bold.
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