The 2008 Mumbai Attacks

The attacks that hit Mumbai on November 26th, 2008 included a series of 12 highly coordinated and simultaneous bombing and shooting attacks in Mumbai, which lasted 4 days, caused 166 civilian victims and more than 600 injured. The attacks were carried out by 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an islamic militant organisation based in Pakistan.

Headlines on the attacks, such as ”Mumbai rocked by deadly attacks” (BBC, 2008a), and “At Least 100 Dead in India Terror Attacks” (The New York Times, 2008), indicate death and terror, but do not directly refer to ‘terrorists’ as the attackers. The BBC was almost immediately criticised for leaving out the word ‘terrorism’ in their release (BBC, 2008b).

This essay will analyse why this incident should be labeled as ‘terrorism’, using the twelve elements borrowed from Alex Schmid’s Academic Consensus Definition of terrorism. As this essay is of small scope the elements will be summarised in four sections, in which only the more thought-provoking elements will be reviewed in more depth.

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