Mumbai attackers probably on drugs: report

Police say gunmen took amphetamines to remain alert


Islamist militants who attacked Mumbai and killed more than 160 people probably took drugs to stay alert throughout their murderous siege, a report quoting senior police officials said Saturday.

Police said 10 gunmen who held hostages at two hotels and a Jewish prayer centre for 60 hours last week had likely taken amphetamines to remain alert without food or sleep for long stretches, the Hindustan Times reported.

"We believe that the terrorists had consumed amphetamines," the Hindustan Times quoted deputy police commissioner Vishwas Nagre Paril of the anti-narcotics division as saying.

Amphetamines, which are readily available on the sub-continent, would have kept the men awake, alert and focused, and suppressed their appetites, said Rajendra Chikle, a police inspector from the same division.

He told the newspaper amphetamines also heightened the senses so the "terrorist hence can hear the noise of the lowest decibel and remain awake for a very long time".

Media reports have said that an autopsy on one of the militants had found his stomach empty, indicating he had not eaten for days and raising suspicions that the attackers were on drugs.

Earlier this week the Indian Express said the body parts of Abu Dera Ismael Khan had been kept at Mumbai's Nair hospital for further tests.

The gunmen arrived in Mumbai by boat and launched a coordinated series of attacks across the city's southern peninsula on November 26.

Officials say 172 people, including nine of the militants, died. One militant was taken alive and is reportedly undergoing interrogation that includes lie detector tests by FBI investigators.

The Indian government has linked the men to Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist outfit suspected of links with Islamabad's intelligence agencies.