DEWANA, India - Two bombs exploded on a train headed from India to Pakistan, sparking a fire that swept through two coaches and killed 66 people in an attack that officials said Monday was aimed at undermining the peace process between the rivals.
Witnesses described a scene of horror as panic-stricken passengers were trapped in one of the burning cars even after the train stopped, just before midnight Sunday in a rural area in northern India. The screams of the victims filled the night, then were drowned out by the roar of the flames.
Most of the dead were Pakistani, said Railway Minister Laloo Prasad. Dozens were injured.
Authorities searching undamaged train cars said they found two suitcases packed with crude, unexploded bombs and bottles of gasoline, apparently similar to the devices that had exploded.
By OMER FAROOQ, Associated Press Writer
A pair of almost simultaneous bombings blamed on Islamic extremists tore through a popular family restaurant and an outdoor arena on Saturday night, killing at least 42 people in this southern Indian city plagued by Hindu-Muslim tensions.
The restaurant was destroyed by the bomb placed at the entrance. Blood-covered tin plates and broken glasses littered the road outside.
The other blast struck a laser show at an auditorium in Lumbini park, leaving pools of blood and dead bodies between rows of seats punctured by shrapnel. Some seats were hurled 100 feet away.
Officials said Sunday that foreign-based Islamic extremists may have been behind the attacks.
"Available information points to the involvement of terrorist organizations based in Bangladesh and Pakistan," Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state, where Hyderabad is located, told reporters after an emergency state Cabinet meeting.
Reddy did not name any groups, but Indian media reports, quoting unnamed security officials, identified the Bangladesh-based Harkatul Jihad Al-Islami. Reddy declined to provide more details. "It is not possible to divulge all this information," he said.
Harkatul, which is banned in Bangladesh, wants to establish strict Islamic rule in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation governed by secular laws.
The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said Dhaka had not been informed of these allegations.
Witnesses described chaotic scenes in the aftermath of the bombings.
"We heard the blast and people started running out past us. Many of them had blood streaming off them," said P.K. Verghese, the security manager at the laser show. "It was complete chaos. We had to remove the security barriers so people could get out."
Most of the dead were killed in the Gokul Chat restaurant at Hyderabad's Kothi market, said K. Jana Reddy, the state home minister. By Sunday morning, the death toll had risen to 42 as victims succumbed to injuries. Some 50 people were injured in the two blasts.
Hindu-Muslim animosity runs deep in Hyderabad, where a bombing at a historic mosque killed 11 people in May. Another five people died in subsequent clashes between security forces and Muslim protesters angered by what they said was a lack of police protection.
Two other bombs were defused in the city Saturday, one under a footbridge in the busy Bilsukh Nagar commercial area, and another in a movie theater in the Narayanguba neighborhood, a police official said. Late-night movie showings were canceled across the city.
"This is a terrorist act," said Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the chief minister for Andhra Pradesh state, where Hyderabad is located.
Much of India's Hindu-Muslim animosity is rooted in disputes over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, divided between India and mostly Muslim Pakistan but claimed in its entirety by both countries. More than a dozen Islamic insurgent groups are fighting for Kashmir's independence or its merger with Pakistan.
More than 80 percent of India's 1.1 billion people are Hindu and 13 percent are Muslim. But in Hyderabad, Muslims make up 40 percent of the population of 7 million.
There has been little progress in the investigation into the May mosque bombing. Underlying the divide, Muslim leaders have said they do not trust local police to handle the investigation into the attack.
A series of terrorist bombings have ripped across India in the past two years. In July 2006, bombs in seven Mumbai commuter trains killed more than 200 people, attacks blamed on Pakistan-based Muslim militants.
| By Altaf Hussain
BBC News, Srinagar
The row over whether to allocate land to a Hindu shrine in Muslim-majority Indian-administered Kashmir is unprecedented and has the potential to cause the state to fragment along communal lines.
At the end of June, the Kashmir valley was suddenly rocked by what turned into nine days of the biggest Muslim street protests seen in the region for years.
The conflagration was a setback for the Indian government which had made much of several years of relative calm in the Kashmir region.
Insurgent attacks appeared to be declining as did military exchanges with Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC) which separates the parts of Kashmir the two countries control.
The reason for the demonstrations was a controversial plan by the Jammu and Kashmir state government to transfer land to a trust which runs the Amarnath shrine in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.
The protests in the valley only subsided when the government dropped the plans - but that in turn triggered equally large protests in the Jammu region in the south of the state, where the majority Hindu population was outraged.
Now it is no exaggeration to say that the state could be heading towards a communal meltdown.
That will affect the Jammu region - where Hindus comprise only a narrow majority - more than the Kashmir valley, which is now almost entirely Muslim.
Observers are almost unanimous that the land row is an effect rather than a cause of antagonism between the two regions.
They say the simmering discontent dates back to the ending of the monarchy in Kashmir in 1947.
The monarch, Maharaja Hari Singh, was a Hindu who belonged to the main ethnic Dogra community of Jammu.
"When the monarchy ended and a popular government was installed under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah, the power base shifted to the valley of Kashmir which has a larger population than Jammu," says Professor Noor Ahmed Baba of Kashmir University.
He argues that the people of Jammu felt disenfranchised then and that feeling remains even now.
A prominent writer and social activist in Jammu, Balraj Puri, says that Hindu discontent over developments in Kashmir has often been overlooked during the years of insurgency.
"I warned [India's first] prime minister [Jawaharlal] Nehru of the consequences of the simmering discontent in Jammu soon after the state's accession to India," he said.
Mr Puri recalls telling India's first prime minister that there was a perception among Hindus in Jammu that they wielded little power in the state of Jammu and Kashmir as the minority population - and what leadership they did have was remote and inaccessible.
|| The trouble in Jammu and Kashmir
is worrying the Indian government
Today those feelings of resentment are still evident.
"It's ironical that Kashmiris who don't even consider themselves to be Indians are getting all the blessings of the government, while the people of Jammu are always treated as second [class] citizens," said one Hindu in Jammu.
At the same time, the majority Muslim population also has a deep sense of insecurity.
They now believe that the only way they can preserve their identity and avoid being swallowed by the huge Indian population is by retaining control of their land.
Last year, they forced the state government to withdraw a proposal to allow non-Kashmiri investors to bid for plots of land on which to build hotels at the tourist resort of Gulmarg.
It was felt that this might open the floodgates for outsiders to settle down in the valley.
Kashmiri leaders have also, on many occasions, voiced their concern over what they say is the steady decline of the Muslim population in the Jammu region.
They have blamed this on people from neighbouring states settling down in the region.
In 1982, while Sheikh Abdullah governed the state, his National Conference party brought out a red book titled "Conspiracy to reduce the majority community in Jammu and Kashmir into a minority".
Prof Noor Ahmed Baba says the people of Kashmir will be at peace with themselves and others only after the question of the state's future has been effectively addressed.
Equally important, he says, is to work out a relationship among the various regions of the state so that there are no suspicions of one region dominating another.
He says that matters are not helped by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and similar organisations which are in the forefront of the continuing protests in Jammu.
Many in the valley argue that these groups have a barely concealed anti-Muslim agenda.
But, Balraj Puri says, it is because of opposition from these parties that Jammu has missed out on regional autonomy - accorded to people in the Kashmir valley as part of the state's special status within the Indian constitution.
The Hindu groups twice vetoed offers of autonomy for Jammu - first by Sheikh Abdullah in the 1950s and again in 1996 by Farooq Abdullah - because they have also opposed the special status of the valley.
The Hindu groups have always demanded abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution which gives special status to the valley.
Meanwhile, the trouble in Jammu and Kashmir is worrying the Indian government.
After almost two decades of separatist violence, the situation in the Kashmir valley had improved in the past few years.
Violence was on the decline and hundreds of thousands of tourists had returned to the valley, rekindling hope that Kashmir may be on the path to peace once again.
But the latest violence by Hindus and Muslims seems to have dashed that hope.
| By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta
When Ahmedabad was hit by a series of explosions on Saturday, one newspaper vendor in the city told another - "Kam ho gaya" (the job is done) .
That exchange sounded like a communication between the bombers, promising an intelligence-led breakthrough.
But it proved to be a red herring - the newspaper vendors had only rejoiced because after the blasts they expected the sale of their evening papers to zoom.
Barring this one telephone call, there is nothing else that could provide intelligence with a clue to the explosions in Ahmedabad.
Intelligence officials say perhaps this is because the bombers are no more speaking for long periods before and after the explosions.
After his arrest last year, Jalaluddin alias Babubhai - the "India operations commander" of the Bangladesh-based militant group Huji - revealed that he had instructed his jihadis (holy warriors) to "minimise telephone or internet communication" during operations.
"India's technical intelligence capability has developed with help from the US and local scientific knowhow, so we told our brothers to use personal couriers," a senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) official quoted Jalaluddin as saying.
Since the serial blasts in the southern city of Hyderabad last August, India's intelligence has failed to pick up leads.
"That explains the complete dearth of intelligence on the groups responsible for this year's serial explosions in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Our intelligence has become too dependent on technology," says BB Nandi, one of India's best known spymasters.
"We are making the same mistakes that Western intelligence agencies made by pinning too much hope on technology. That's important, but there's no substitute for a good agent in the right place," Mr Nandi says.
While Western intelligence agencies like the CIA and MI-6 are trying to augment human intelligence capabilities after a string of failures such as the 9/11 attacks in the US, Indian intelligence is not learning from their mistakes.
Intelligence officials say that Pakistan and Bangladesh-based Islamic militant groups have increasingly made their Indian units autonomous - in recruitment, training, funding and operations - so that nothing can be traced back to the patron nations.
"The serial bombings in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad prove that Pakistan's ISI has successfully Indianised the jihad by creating Indian equivalents of Lashkar-e-Toiba or Huji," says B Raman, another former spymaster specialising in Islamic militant groups.
"They still provide general direction, so you have a series of explosions in India immediately after the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul and the stepped up hostilities in Kashmir," he says.
"But the surrogates are largely independent now in choosing targets or gathering explosives."
And why can't India's intelligence agencies penetrate these home-grown Islamic militant groups if they are run and led by Indian Muslims with roots in India?
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), which is responsible for domestic and counter-intelligence, is supposed to co-ordinate the fight against militancy through its multi-agency co-ordination.
But the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which is responsible for external intelligence, has a major role in checking the foreign sources of militancy.
"The real bane of Indian intelligence is that it is largely run by police officials, most of whom serve on deputation from states and are floating in and out of the IB and other federal intelligence wings. They lack both the commitment and the expertise," says retired IB official Ashok Debbarma.
Strangely, the lower echelons of IB and RAW are direct recruits, trained specifically for intelligence. But they lack the motivation because they can rarely rise to senior positions.
"None of the world's best intelligence agencies are run by policemen. They are all run by career intelligence officers. It is only in India that the Indian Police Service (IPS) monopolises most senior intelligence positions," Mr Debbarma said.
He said some police officials have done well in IB and RAW but most have failed in a fast changing world.
"The best brains go to foreign service and administrative service and only those at the bottom of the heap are recruited into the police service," Mr Debbarma says.
A losing battle
Interestingly, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has demanded the creation of an Indian intelligence service that, he says, should recruit the best available talent and deploy them in positions that fit their special talent.
"We should get the best brains for intelligence, but we only get rejects now," Mr Modi said after the Ahmedabad explosions.
Many say Indian intelligence is losing its fight against Islamic militancy because the agencies do not recruit enough Muslims.
"There are very few Muslims in Indian intelligence, only a few in the state police special branches and really a handful in the federal agencies. How can we plant agents amongst jihadis unless we have Muslim officers?" asks a former IB official who does not wish to be named.
The IB is also woefully short of officers - against a sanctioned strength of 250 officers, only 100 places have been filled up.
"Most IPS officers use the IB as a transit point. They come here only when they don't get a good posting in their state cadre," says retired IB official Subir Dutta.
Five bombs have ripped through busy shopping areas of India's capital, Delhi, within minutes of each other, killing at least 20 people, police say.
The explosions, which also injured about 90 people, are not thought to have been very powerful but happened in crowded areas.
Four unexploded bombs were also found and defused, police said.
More than 400 people have died since October 2005 in bomb attacks on Indian cities such as Ahmedabad and Bangalore.
India has blamed Islamist militant groups for these previous bombings.
|| They want to break the spirit of
Mayor of Delhi
CNN-IBN, a local TV news channel, said it had received an e-mail before the blasts from a group calling itself the "Indian Mujahideen".
"Do whatever you can. Stop us if you can," the e-mail reportedly said.
The same group has claimed responsibility for two other recent bombing attacks.
The Indian government has put the security agencies on high alert.
Pakistan has joined in official Indian condemnation of the attacks.
Two bombs are believed to have been planted in dustbins metres away from each other in the central shopping district of Connaught Place.
BOMB ATTACKS IN INDIA IN 2008
13 September: Five bomb blasts kill 18 in Delhi
26 July: At least 22 small bombs kill 49 in Ahmedabad
25 July: Seven bombs go off in Bangalore killing two people
13 May: Seven bomb hit markets and crowded streets in Jaipur killing 63
Police believe that at least three other devices were planted at busy markets in the Karol Bagh area, on the Barakhamba Road and in the Greater Kailash area.
Chanchal Kumar helped carry several casualties to ambulances after witnessing one of the explosions, outside a metro station.
"Around 1830 we heard a very loud noise, then we saw people running all over the place," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.
"There were about 100-200 people around this place."
Gulab Singh, an underground train guard, saw an explosion in Greater Kailash.
"I was stepping out for a cup of tea when everything turned black in front of me," he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. "Then everyone started running."
Television pictures show scenes of chaos at the blast scenes. Crowds milled around mangled vehicles, with debris and blood scattered across the streets.
'Enemies of humanity'
The Mayor of Delhi, Arti Mehra, said the city would not be intimidated by the "cowardly" attacks.
"They want to break the spirit of Delhi," he told reporters.
"They have tried this in other places before and they have not succeeded and they will not succeed here. They will not scare us."
Pakistan's new President, Asif Ali Zardari, "strongly condemned" the bomb attacks, expressing "shock and grief over the loss of precious human lives".
After bombings in Jaipur and Bangalore, a group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen also claimed responsibility.
While it is too early to say exactly what caused Saturday's blasts in Delhi, they appear similar to the earlier attacks.
The earlier attacks involved multiple small devices hidden in small boxes or bags and aimed at soft targets such as crowded markets, analysts say.
The devices contained shrapnel such as nuts, bolt and ball bearings while the explosives used were improvised. Islamic militants in Kashmir have tended to use military-grade explosives.
MUMBAI, India – Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility.
Parts of the city remained under siege as dawn approached Thursday, with police and gunmen exchanging occasional gunfire at two hotels and an unknown number of people still held hostage, said A.N. Roy, a top police official.
A raging fire and explosions struck one of the hotels, the landmark Taj Mahal, shortly after midnight. Screams could be heard and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the at the century-old edifice on Mumbai's waterfront. Firefighters were spraying water at the blaze, and plucking people from windows and balconies with extension ladders.
The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said. Officials said at least 200 people were wounded.
The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
State home secretary Bipin Shrimali said four suspects had been killed in two incidents when they tried to flee in cars, and Roy said two more gunmen were killed at the Taj Mahal. State Home Minister R.R. Patil said nine more were captured. They declined to provide any further details.
An Indian media report said a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets. There was no way to verify the claim.
Police reported hostages being held at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the best-known upscale destinations in this crowded but wealthy city.
Gunmen who burst into the Taj "were targeting foreigners. They kept shouting: `Who has U.S. or U.K. passports?'" said Ashok Patel, a British citizen who fled from the hotel.
Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were prisoners at the Taj Mahal, but it was not immediately clear if hostages at the Oberoi were Indians or foreigners, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official. It was also unclear where the hostages were in the Taj Mahal, which is divided into an older wing, which was in flames, and a modern tower that was not on fire.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said U.S. officials were not aware of any American casualties, but were still checking. He said he could not address reports that Westerners might be among the hostages.
"We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.
Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said 78 people had been killed and 200 had been wounded.
Officials at Bombay Hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans were admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshot wounds. All were brought in from the Taj Mahal, the officials said.
At least three top Indian police officers — including the chief of the anti-terror squad — were among those killed, a senior police official, A.N. Roy, said.
Blood smeared the floor of the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, where attackers sprayed bullets into the crowded terminal. Press Trust of India quoted the chief of the Mumbai railway police, A.K. Sharma, as saying several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up at the station.
Other gunmen attacked Leopold's restaurant, a landmark popular with foreigners, and the police headquarters in southern Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.
Officials also reported that terrorists attacked the city's Cama and Albless Hospital and G.T. Hospital, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was killed in those places.
A British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi hotel told Sky News television that the gunmen who struck there singled out Britons and Americans.
Alex Chamberlain said a gunman, a young man of 22 or 23, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands. He said the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu.
"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything — and thank God they didn't," he said.
Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.
Early Thursday, several European lawmakers were among people who barricaded themselves inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.
"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a European Union-India summit.
As he turned to get away, "all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.
Hours later, Karim remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure if it was safe to come out.
The British Foreign Office said it was advising all British citizens in Mumbai to stay indoors.
Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, strongly condemned the attacks. "Today's attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists," Miliband said in a statement.
India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.
Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.
Mumbai has been hit repeatedly by terror attacks since March 1993, when Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carried out a series of bombings on Mumbai's stock exchange, trains, hotels and gas stations. Authorities say those attacks, which killed 257 people and wounded more than 1,100, were carried out to avenge the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots that had swept India.
Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in July 2007 a series of seven blasts on railway trains and at commuter rail stations killed at least 187.
Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947.
MUMBAI, India – A 60-hour terror rampage that killed at least 195 people across India's financial capital ended Saturday when commandos killed the last three gunmen inside a luxury hotel while it was engulfed in flames.
Authorities searched for any remaining captives hiding in their rooms and began to shift their focus to who was behind the attacks, which killed 18 foreigners including six Americans.
A previously unknown Muslim group with a name suggesting origins inside India claimed responsibility for the attack, but Indian officials said the sole surviving gunman was from Pakistan and pointed a finger of blame at their neighbor and rival.
Islamabad denied involvement and promised to help in the investigation. A team of FBI agents also was on its way to India to lend assistance.
Some 295 people also were wounded in the violence that started when heavily armed assailants attacked 10 sites across Mumbai on Wednesday night. At least 20 soldiers and police were among the dead.
Orange flames and black smoke engulfed the landmark 565-room Taj Mahal hotel after dawn Saturday as Indian forces ended the siege there in a hail of gunfire, just hours after elite commandos stormed a Jewish center and found at least eight hostages dead.
"There were three terrorists, we have killed them," said J.K. Dutt, director general of India's elite National Security Guard commando unit.
Later, adoring crowds surrounded six buses carrying weary, unshaven commandos, shaking their hands and giving them flowers. The commandos, dressed in black fatigues, said they had been ordered not to talk about the operation, but said they had not slept since the ordeal began. One sat sipping a bottle of water and holding a pink rose.
With the end of one of the most brazen terror attacks in India's history, attention turned from the military operation to questions of who was behind the attack and the heavy toll on human life.
The bodies of New York Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were found at the Jewish center. Their son, Moshe, who turned 2 on Saturday, was scooped up by an employee Thursday as she fled the building. Two Israelis and another American were also killed in the house, said Rabbi Zalman Schmotkin, a spokesman for the Chabad Lubavitch movement, which ran the center.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said eight bodies had been discovered in the Jewish center and that officials were investigating the possibility of there being a ninth.
Among the foreigners killed in the attacks were six Americans, according to the U.S. Embassy. The dead also included Germans, Canadians, Israelis and nationals from Britain, Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.
By Saturday morning the death toll was at 195, the deadliest attack in India since 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai killed 257 people. But officials said the toll from the three days of carnage was likely to rise as more bodies were brought out of the hotels.
"There is a limit a city can take. This is a very, very different kind of fear. It will be some time before things get back to normal," said Ayesha Dar, a 33-year-old homemaker.
Indians began cremating their dead, many of them security force members killed fighting the gunmen. In the southern city of Bangalore, black clad commandos formed an honor guard for the flag-draped coffin of Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who was killed in the fighting at the Taj Mahal hotel.
"He gave up his own life to save the others," Dutt said from Mumbai.
A group called Deccan Mujahideen, which alludes to a region in southern India traditionally ruled by Muslim kings, claimed responsibility for the attack, but Indian officials pointed the finger at neighboring Pakistan.
On Saturday, officials said they believed that just 10 gunmen had taken part in the attack. "Nine were killed and one was captured," Maharshta state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters. "We are interrogating him."
Deshmukh's deputy, R.R. Patil, identified the gunman as a Pakistani national, Mohammad Ajmal Qasam.
The gunmen had sophisticated equipment and used "GPS, mobile and satellite phones to communicate," Patil said. "They were constantly in touch with a foreign country," he said, refusing to give further details.
On Friday, India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, told reporters that evidence indicated "some elements in Pakistan are responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks."
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted his country was not involved. His government was sending an intelligence official to assist in the probe.
Deshmukh said the attackers arrived by sea.
On Saturday the Indian navy said it was investigating whether a trawler found drifting off the coast of Mumbai, with a bound corpse on board, was used in the attack.
Navy spokesman Capt. Manohar Nambiar said the trawler, named Kuber, had been found Thursday and was brought to Mumbai. Officials said they believe the boat had sailed from a port in the neighboring state of Gujarat.
Indian security officers believe many of the gunmen may have reached the city using a black and yellow rubber dinghy found near the site of the attacks.
In the U.S., President-elect Barack Obama said he was closely monitoring the situation. "These terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India's great democracy, nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them," he said in a statement.
On Friday, commandos killed the last two gunmen inside the luxury Oberoi hotel, where 24 bodies had been found, authorities said.
But in the most dramatic of the counterstrikes Friday, masked Indian commandos rappelled from a helicopter to the rooftop of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish center.
For nearly 12 hours, explosions and gunfire erupted from the five-story building as the commandos fought their way downward, while thousands of people gathered behind barricades in the streets to watch. At one point, Indian forces fired a rocket at the building.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel's Channel 1 TV that some of the victims found at the center had been bound.
The attackers were well-prepared, carrying large bags of almonds to keep up their energy during a long siege. One backpack found contained 400 rounds of ammunition.
India has been shaken repeatedly by terror attacks blamed on Muslim militants in recent years, but most were bombings striking crowded places: markets, street corners, parks. Mumbai — one of the most highly populated cities in the world with some 18 million people — was hit by a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.
The latest attacks began Wednesday at about 9:20 p.m. with shooters spraying gunfire across the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station. For the next two hours, there was an attack roughly every 15 minutes — the Jewish center, a tourist restaurant, one hotel, then another, and two attacks on hospitals.
Associated Press writers Ravi Nessman, Erika Kinetz and Anita Chang contributed to this report from Mumbai, and Foster Klug and Lara Jakes Jordan contributed from Washington.
MUMBAI, India – A senior Mumbai police official says the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the terrorist attacks that left at least 174 people dead.
Joint Crime Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria told reporters Sunday that the attackers were from "a hardcore group in the LeT."
The group has long been seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service to help wage its clandestine war against India in disputed Kashmir.
Earlier a U.S. counterterrorism official had said some "signatures of the attack" were consistent with Lashkar and another group that has operated in Kashmir. Both are reported to be linked to al-Qaida.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.
Check back soon for further information.
AP's earlier story is below.
MUMBAI, India (AP) — With corpses still being pulled from a once-besieged hotel, India's top security official resigned Sunday as the government struggled under growing accusations of security failures following terror attacks that killed 174 people.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who has become highly unpopular during a long series of terror attacks across India, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who accepted it, according to the president's office.
The Cabinet reshuffle comes as a chorus of criticism about the government's handling of the Mumbai attacks grows louder.
"Our Politicians Fiddle as Innocents Die," read a headline Sunday in the Times of India newspaper.
A day after the siege ended, authorities were still removing victims bodies from the ritzy Taj Mahal hotel, where three suspected Muslim militants made a last stand before Indian commandos killed them in a blaze of gunfire and explosions.
On Sunday, the waterfront landmark, popular among foreign tourists and Indian high society, was surrounded by metal barricades, its shattered windows boarded over. At the iconic Gateway of India basalt arch nearby, a shrine of candles, flowers and messages commemorated victims.
"We have been to two funerals already," Mumbai resident Karin Dutta said as she placed a small bouquet of white flowers for several friends killed in the hotel. "We're going to another one now."
The rampage was carried out by gunmen at 10 sites across Mumbai starting Wednesday night. At least 239 were wounded.
One site, the Cafe Leopold, a famous tourist restaurant and the scene of one of the first attacks, opened Sunday for the first time since the mayhem — but police asked it to close just minutes later because they said the eatery needed permission first.
Mirrors, doors and paneling were riddled with bullet holes from the assault that killed seven people there.
"I want them (the attackers) to feel we have won, they have lost," restaurant manager Farzad Jehani said of the symbolic opening. "We're back in action."
The death toll was revised down Sunday from 195 after authorities said some bodies were counted twice, but they said it could rise again as areas of the Taj Mahal were still being searched. Among the dead were 18 foreigners, including six Americans. Nine gunmen were killed.
The dead also included Germans, Canadians, Israelis and nationals from Britain, Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.
A previously unknown Muslim group called Deccan Mujahideen — a name suggesting origins inside India — has claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed more than 170 people. But Indian officials said the sole surviving gunman, now in custody, was from Pakistan and voiced suspicions of their neighbor.
Pakistan denied it was involved and demanded evidence.
Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, reiterated in an interview broadcast on ABC on Sunday that Pakistan stands ready to support India.
"Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. India is a victim of terrorism. The victims need to get together. Forget about our bitter history," he said.
But the assaults have raised fears among U.S. officials about a possible surge in violence between Pakistan and India. The nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars against each other, two over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Prime Minister Singh called a rare meeting of leaders from the country's main political parties to discuss the situation Sunday.
"In the face of this national threat and in the aftermath of this national tragedy, all of us from different political parties must rise above narrow political considerations and stand united," he said.
He added that authorities were strengthening maritime and air security and looking to create a new federal investigative agency. The attackers are believed to have landed in Mumbai by boat.
As officials pointed the finger at "elements in Pakistan," public ire over the government's actions widened.
"People are worried, but the key difference is anger," said Rajesh Jain, chief executive officer at a brokerage firm, Pranav Securities. "Does the government have the will, the ability to tackle the dangers we face?"
But J.K. Dutt, director general of India's elite commandos, brushed off criticism that his unit, which had to fly from New Delhi to Mumbai, was slow to respond to the attacks.
"There was no delay," he told reporters Sunday.
But Patil, the former home minister, succumbed to the mounting criticism of the government's inability to prevent repeated terrorist attacks. To replace him, Singh tapped Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, a Harvard-educated lawyer who has been one of the most prominent faces in the administration.
Chidambaram, 63, served as Minister of Internal Security in the 1980s under slain Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Authorities say the gunmen may have arrived in Mumbai on a trawler that was found abandoned and drifting off the coast with a bound corpse aboard a day after the attacks started.
The government suspects they then transferred to a dinghy and docked at a fishermen's colony near the two hotels and Jewish center targeted in the assaults.
Local fishermen were suspicious of the group of young men, police inspector Dattatray Rajbhog said.
"The fishermen shouted at them and asked who they were and where they had come from. But they abused them and fled," he said.
Suspicions in Indian media quickly settled on the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, long seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service to help wage its clandestine war against India in disputed Kashmir.
A U.S. counterterrorism official said some "signatures of the attack" were consistent with Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, another group that has operated in Kashmir. Both are reported to be linked to al-Qaida.
President George W. Bush pledged full U.S. support for the investigation, saying the killers "will not have the final word." FBI agents were sent to India to help with the probe.
It was the country's deadliest terrorist act since 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai killed 257 people.
Associated Press writers Ravi Nessman, Ramola Talwar Badam, Erika Kinetz and Anita Chang contributed to this report from Mumbai, and Foster Klug and Lara Jakes Jordan contributed from Washington.