Indian investigators, with the help of FBI agents and other foreign experts, are fanning out in their hunt for any remaining terrorists tied to the brutal attacks in the country's financial capital that killed at least 174 people and injured more than 300.
Local media have labeled the massacre "India's 9/11." The terrorists' final siege ended Saturday morning — two and a half days after the attacks began — but the efforts to determine who carried out the attacks have only begun.
Pakistan reversed its decision to send its spy chief to aid a probe and demanded evidence for Indian charges it was involved in the Mumbai attacks.
Officials said they believe just 10 well-prepared gunmen were behind the attacks, and India's NDTV reports that the gunmen had intended to kill as many as 5,000 and had planned to blow up the Taj Majal hotel, a landmark in the city formerly known as Bombay.
"What happened is disgusting," said Suresh Thakkar, 59, who reopened his clothing store behind the hotel Saturday for the first time since the attacks. "It will be harder to recover, but we will recover. Bombay people have a lot of spirit and courage."
After the final siege at the Taj Mahal, adoring crowds surrounded six buses carrying weary, unshaven commandos dressed in black fatigues, shaking their hands and giving them flowers. One of the commandos said he had been awake for nearly 60 hours since the assault began Wednesday. Another sat sipping a bottle of water and holding a pink rose.
Hours after the fire fight, parts of the hotel were in shambles, its corner facade charred black and a red carpet leading to double doors littered with broken glass.
"Suddenly no one feels safe or secure," said Joe Sequeira, the manager of a popular restaurant near the Oberoi hotel, another site targeted in the attacks. "It will take time. People are scared but they will realize it's no use being scared and sitting at home."
Indian forces killed nine gunmen and captured one, Maharshta state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters. "We are interrogating him." Another official said the captured attacker is Pakistani and the gunmen were constantly in touch with a foreign country.
The country is hardly a stranger to terrorism, but the attacks on 10 sites in Mumbai have shaken the country with their violent intensity and brazenness, the extent of which only now is fully coming to light.
Local newspapers report that before the attacks, some of the terrorists had checked into the landmark 565-room Taj Mahal hotel, the site of their final standoff against Indian commandos. A spokesperson for the hotel, however, said there were no indications that any staff members were involved.
There also were reports that the terrorists had arrived in Mumbai by sea after hijacking fishing trawlers. The Indian navy said it was investigating whether a trawler found driving off the coast of Mumbai, with a bound corpse on board, was used in the attack.
Indian security officers believe many of the gunmen may have reached the city using a black and yellow rubber dinghy found near the site of the attacks.
The gunmen were well-prepared, apparently scouting some targets ahead of time and carrying large bags of almonds to keep up their energy.
The Times of India reports that one gunman arrested in the attacks suggested the terrorists thought they'd escape alive, possibly with the help of a GPS programmed with an escape route, though those details haven't been confirmed.
The newspaper also reports that bodies are arriving at JJ Hospital, and staff members are struggling to cope with the numbers. The death toll could rise to 300.
Among the dead are 18 foreigners, including 6 Americans. Early in the siege, eyewitnesses said gunmen had called out in search of targets with American and British passports.
The motive behind the attacks, however, remains mostly a mystery.
India has linked the attack to "elements" in Pakistan, raising the prospect of an alarming breakdown of peace talks between the South Asian nations. Pakistan has rejected the notion it had anything to do with the attacks. It had pledged to send its spy chief to aid in the investigation, but instead it will send a lower-level official to India.
"Pakistan stands fully committed to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, because we are also victims of terrorism," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Quereshi told reporters, calling the attacks a "ghastly act." "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Indian people to defeat this common enemy and to defeat this menace."
A little-known group calling itself Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks early on. Some security analysts are pointing fingers at Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terror group with roots in Pakistan. The group has denied it was involved.
Since Lashkar-e-Taiba was founded in 1989 in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, the group has grown into one of the largest and most active terrorist organizations in South Asia, and its fighters have been actively fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir since 1993.
India has accused the group of carrying out deadly explosions in Mumbai in 2003 that killed 55 people and injured 180, as well as an armed raid on India's parliament in 2001 that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of all-out war.
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Qaeda have shared training camps in Pakistan, though no evidence has been revealed so far of any Al Qaeda involvement in the attacks in Mumbai.
A team of FBI agents was on its way to India to help investigate, and President Bush pledged full U.S. support.
"As the people of the world's largest democracy recover from these attacks, they can count on the people of world's oldest democracy to stand by their side," Bush said at the White House.
Earlier Saturday, Bush conferred with diplomatic officials at Camp David about the attacks. Among those participating in the secure video-teleconference were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; David Mulford, the U.S. ambassador to India; Paul Folmsbee, consul general at the U.S. consulate in Mumbai, India; and members of Bush's national security team.
President-elect Barack Obama called Indian Prime Minister Singh on Friday night to offer condolences and said he was monitoring the situation.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.