Global jihad: smoke signals from Mumbai to Nairobi
NAIROBI - France 24
Smoke rises on September 23, 2013 from the beseiged Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi following a loud explosion. AFP photoAs thick black plumes of smoke rose from Nairobi’s besieged Westgate mall on Monday, the scene was disconcertingly reminiscent of the flames billowing out of the Taj hotel cupola during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
From the target choice of landmark locations that attract internationals and local elites, to the multipronged nature of the attack involving gunfights, grenades, hostages and sieges, to the reassuring statements by authorities that the situation is under control when it’s obviously not – there are many similarities between Mumbai 2008 and Nairobi 2013.
Much of it though could get lost in the smoke signals of official statements and militant boasts in the days to come.
Back in 2008, phone intercepts of the conversations between militants in the luxury Mumbai hotel and their handlers in Pakistan revealed that the terror bosses kept reminding the attackers to “pile up the carpets and mattresses” from the hotel rooms, douse them in alcohol and set them alight.
“You must start the fire now,” ordered the handler at one stage. “Nothing's going to happen until you start the fire. When people see the flames, they will start to be afraid.”