London, Nov.29 : Western intelligence officials have expressed concern about the security implications of the Mumbai attacks for their own cities, and warned of a resurgence of a violence that was popular in the 1970s.
Establishing a contrast between the Mumbai attacks and the suicide and car bombings in London, they said the latter was carried out mainly by self radicalised, self-selected groups of individuals, slowly gathering bomb-making equipment and vulnerable to surveillance by the security services.
On the other hand, the group who attacked Mumbai was armed with rifles and grenades and stormed their targets in the city head-on.
"It is a mode of attack that has fallen out of fashion," one source said, adding that this sort of violent action was carried out in the 1970s.
"If you are going to be martyrs anyway, why not go in firing AK-47s?" he said.
The Guardian quoted Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert and professor at Washington's Georgetown University as saying that the "Mumbai operation was planned and premeditated and executed by terrorist teams functioning under a command and control apparatus that orchestrated their deployment and coordinated their assaults."
The attacks demonstrated how a small number of well-trained terrorists could paralyse a city and stymie the local security forces. Hotels popular with foreign visitors were emerging as a favourite target, he added, referring to recent attacks in Islamabad, Kabul, Amman, in Jordan, and Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt.
Indian marine commandos yesterday said the attackers were extremely well prepared, carrying large supplies of ammunition and fruit and nuts to maintain their energy.
One backpack they found had 400 rounds of ammunition inside.
Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, at King's College London, said the attack might have appeared to have been simply a commando-style assault, but that did not mean that it was a leaderless, grassroots plot.
Paul Cornish, head of the international security programme at the Chatham House think tank, said: "Perhaps it wasn't so difficult after all to plan and execute this attack: small arms and hand grenades are not hard to find; boats are scarcely specialised equipment; and Mumbai is a vast, open city with more than enough soft targets. Perhaps we don't know enough about where the perpetrators are from, because they could have come from almost anywhere."