Israel on Tuesday banned the Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), perpetrators of the horrific Mumbai massacre in November 2008.
The Indian government did not request Israel’s action but appeared to heartily approve of the decision. Israel has likewise asked India to ban Hamas, which tortured, raped, and slaughtered 1,200 Israeli civilians on October 7.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Horror of the Hamas Terror Attack on Civilians at Kibbutz Be’eri in IsraelJoel B. Pollak / Breitbart News
Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose name means “Army of the Righteous,” is a Salafist jihadi organization like the Islamic State. The group became active in the late 1980s as a proxy force for the Pakistani government to oppose India in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir regions.
By the mid-1990s, LeT had expanded from paramilitary operations against Indian military targets to suicide bombings and murdering Hindu and Sikh civilians, and it began launching attacks outside Kashmir in the early 2000s. Pakistan responded to intense international pressure by banning LeT and freezing its assets in 2002. Most of the group’s members are Pakistani nationals, and its training camps and headquarters are located in Pakistan.
The Mumbai attack, which began on November 26, 2008, killed 164 people over three days. The killings were perpetrated by a squad of ten LeT gunmen, who took a boat from Karachi, Pakistan, to carry out the attack. The terrorists hijacked a fishing boat along the way, making its five crewmembers the first victims of the massacre.
During their three-day rampage, the LeT killers used automatic weapons and grenades to attack crowded train stations, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and a Jewish community center. Nine of the ten attackers were killed, while the tenth was captured and executed in November 2012. Six of the victims were Jewish.
Israel marked the 15th anniversary of the Mumbai massacre by designating the “deadly and reprehensible” Lashkar-e-Taiba as a banned terrorist organization. The Israeli embassy to India noted there was no pressure from the Indian government to make this designation.
The Israeli embassy said LeT’s “heinous actions on November 26, 2008, still reverberate in force through all peace-seeking nations and societies”:
Israel ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs have jointly worked in the last few months towards an expedited and extraordinary listing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba organization on this date to highlight the importance of a unified global front in combating terrorism.
“The state of Israel offers its sincere condolences to all victims of terrorism and to the survivors and bereaved families of the Mumbai attacks, including those in Israel. We stand with you united in the hope for a better, peaceful future,” the statement concluded.
At a press briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon suggested it is “also time to officially designate Hamas also in India as a terror organization.”
Gilon noted that most of India’s key allies, including the United States, Canada, European Union, and Australia, have designated Hamas as terrorists. The Indian government has not yet taken that step, although it does officially describe the October 7 Hamas atrocity as a terrorist attack.