NPR: Officials Say Mumbai Style Plots Were Aimed At Europe

file photo of Mumbai attacks

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2008 file photo, an Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns during gun battle between Indian military and militants inside the hotel in Mumbai, India. David Guttenfelder/AP hide caption

toggle caption David Guttenfelder/AP

NPR's Dina Temple Raston has more on the terror plot that started breaking yesterday.

The plot was not imminent, but authorities did have information that terrorists were planning an attack on cities in Germany, England and France. The attacks were at different stages in each country, in one they might be planning the actual attack, and in another they might only have done reconnaissance.

Her sources are telling her that they were looking at what they're calling "Mumbai-style" attacks, where small teams of heavily armed gunmen take Westerners hostage and kill them, much like what happened in Mumbai in 2008. There ten gunmen attacked a train station and took over a few hotels, bringing the city to a standstill. In the end 173 people died. Officials say these type of attacks are easier to launch, easier to train for, and harder to disrupt.

Dina reports that one source of intelligence on these planned attacks was a man named Ahmad Siddiqui who is being held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. He's a German citizen who was arrested trying to fly from Kabul to Germany in July.

The danger now is what European officials don't know. Some intelligence is telling them that there is a possibility that some of the hit teams are already in Europe. There is a concern that now that these plots are public, some of the cells might act before they were planning to. So there is a manhunt of sorts on now. In some cases authorities have names of people who might be involved. In other cases they only have descriptions or nationalities.

The uptick in drone strikes in Pakistan, Dina says, is not necessarily related to these plots. Instead, her sources say, there are simply more drones available in the Afghan/Pakistan area having been moved there from Iraq, and they have more targeting intelligence, allowing them to launch more strikes. Also, since the Pakistan Taliban were behind the Times Square bombing this spring, they have become a legitimate target, so there are simply more people to shoot at.



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