Thursday, Nov 27, 2008
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the terror attacks against British and American citizens in Bombay raise some awkward questions about the quality and effectiveness of the Foreign Office’s international travel advice.
Although the Bombay attacks might have taken much of the outside world by surprise, they are in fact the culmination of a wave of attacks by Islamist groups which have killed more than 700 people in the last three years.
While it is true none of the previous incidents have claimed British lives, it also true that India’s Islamist terror cells have been gradually zeroing in on the high-value, foreign targets which would generate maximum international impact for their cause.
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Until this year the Islamist fight appeared to be largely sectarian in intent, attacking Hindu temples at prayer time or shopping markets on key festival days like Diwali, however over the last six months the focus clearly started to change.
In May bombers killed 63 people in the Rajasthani city of Jaipur, a favourite among British tourists visiting India. Although this was outside the tourist high-season, it has proved to be an early marker for the direction of attacks to follow.
In July eight small bombs hit the Indian technology capital of Bangalore, killing one woman and injuring 15 other people. As a flagship investment destination for India’s new economy, the target had international significance.
This article was posted: Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 6:00 am