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India marks two years since Mumbai terror attacks

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • 164 people died in the assaults, which lasted three days
  • Gunmen attacked hotels, a train station and a Jewish cultural center
  • The only surviving gunman in the attacks was sentenced to death
  • Indian forces killed nine other gunmen in the siege

Mumbai, India (CNN) -- Indians will march for peace, pray, and lay wreaths Friday in memory of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which 164 people were killed.

The state's chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, will lead government officials and railway police in homage at the Victoria Terminus railway station, one of several places that came under assault by gunmen, on the second anniversary of the attacks.

The peace march and multi-faith prayers will take place at Mumbai's Gateway of India monument.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a message of solidarity Thursday to mark the assaults, in which 10 men stormed the station, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House.

"As the people of the United States gather with family to celebrate Thanksgiving, we pause to remember the horrific attack on innocent men, women and children that occurred in Mumbai two years ago," Clinton said in a statement. "Now, as then, the American people stand in solidarity with the people of India and honor those who lost their lives."

"President Obama's recent visit to India underscored our nations' shared belief in liberty, democracy and mutual respect for all people. As the people of Mumbai gather in temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras and synagogues to honor those who perished on November 26, 2008, they send a message of resolve, resilience and mutual respect that is far louder and more powerful than any terrorist's guns and bombs."

The only surviving gunman in the attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab of Pakistan, was convicted of murder, conspiracy and waging war in May. He was sentenced to death.

Indian forces killed nine gunmen in the attacks, which lasted three days.

The Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba has been blamed for the siege. The group has denied responsibility.

Earlier this week, family members of two New Yorkers gunned down during the attacks said they are suing Pakistan's intelligence agency and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

Relatives of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his pregnant wife, Rivka, who died in the siege, allege that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency aided the al Qaeda-allied militant group in the attacks.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court in New York says the intelligence agency "provided critical planning, material support, control and coordination for the attacks."

Family members seek monetary damages, but did not specify an amount.

The families' lawyer, James Kreindler, was part of a successful lawsuit against Libya in connection with the 1988 explosion on Pan Am Flight 103. The blast killed 259 people over Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as 11 people on the ground.

In April in Mumbai, the Oberoi hotel reopened after an extensive renovation. It had been badly damaged in the 2008 siege.The Trident and the Taj reopened soon after the attacks.

In January, the bodies of the nine slain gunmen were buried in secret, more than a year after the attacks. Their bodies had been embalmed and kept in a hospital morgue because some Muslim groups refused to bury them in their graveyards, saying the attackers were not true followers of Islam.

An Indian official in Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, revealed the burials months later. P.K. Jain, principal home secretary in Maharastra, did not give the date or the exact location of what he described as a secret funeral.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh contributed to this report.