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Thursday, November 27, 2008

At least 100 killed in Mumbai terror strike; Operations Continue to flush out terrorists

Courtesy of the Indian Government:

At least 100 killed in Mumbai terror strike; Operations Continue to flush out terrorists

More than 100 people have been killed and nearly 300 injured so far in the multiple attacks by an unspecified number of heavily armed gunmen in ten places in South Mumbai.  

Security forces on Thursday prepared to launch an assault to flush out terrorists from two luxury hotels - Taj and Trident - where a couple of 100 people are believed to be either held hostage or trapped in the most audacious terror attacks that have claimed over 100 lives and left over 300 injured in India's financial capital.

Latest reports indicate that terrorists, about 10-12 in number in Trident (rpt) Trident, formerly Oberoi, alone, have made some ransom demands but Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said no demands have come from them.

He said five of the dozen terrorists in Trident (rpt) Trident have been killed while one has been captured and was being interrogated.

Claiming to have some "vital leads", the minister expressed confidence of breakthrough soon.

An unspecified number of foreigners including Americans, Israelis and Canadians are believed to be among those trapped in the two hotels and in Nariman House, a

residential complex with an old Jewish prayer hall, where also a hostage situation prevailed.

As the day broke, gunbattles raged between terrorists, believed to have come in a boat to the Gateway of India, opposite Taj hotel, and commandoes and fresh explosions rocked the two hotels after the night of terror targeting ten places.

The terrorists struck with impunity in Mumbai on Wednesday night in coordinated multiple blasts and gunfire in a dozen areas including at iconic landmarks CST railway station and two five star hotels—Oberoi and Taj.

Terror strikes hit life in fast-paced Mumbai

While terror-hit Mumbai came to a virtual standstill on Thursday with trains running almost empty and streets wearing a deserted look as government asked residents not to panic in the face of the most audacious militant attack on the metropolis.

A curfew-like situation prevailed in south Mumbai, the metropolis' business district which is the centre of terror attacks since Wednesday night.

The otherwise overcrowded suburban trains, the lifeline of Mumbai, were running on schedule but with only a few office-goers as passengers on Thursday morning.

Schools and colleges were shut down by authorities and trading at Bombay Stock Exchange and commodity markets stalled in view of the grim situation.

ATS chief Hemant Karkare killed in terror strikes

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said five police officers including Anti Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare were killed in one of the worst terror strikes in the country's financial capital that in all claimed the lives of at least 11 police personnel.

Karkare(54), who is probing the Malegaon blasts case, was gunned down when he was leading an operation at Hotel Taj against terrorists who had taken 15 people, including seven foreigners, as hostages.

He was hit by three bullets in his chest. One MP Krishan Das and 200 people were stranded in Taj hotel.

Another IPS officer Ashok Marutirao Kamte, a 1989 batch IPS officer, was killed while fighting terrorists at Metro Cinema in the city along with encounter specialist Vijay

Salaskar who also gunned down as one of the worst terror strikes brought Mumbai to the knees.

"The operation(by security forces) is still going on," Deshmukh also said. Besides army commandoes, naval commandos and Rapid Action force personnel joined in the operations to rescue those stranded in the two hotels.

Five columns of Army and 200 NSG commandoes have been rushed.

Two sten guns have been recovered by police so far, he added.

Deshmukh said it was not immediately known how many terrorists were involved in the audacious attack in ten places that shook the western metropolis.

The chief minister said the Taj and Oberoi is not in control yet. He said there are no terrorists in Cama hospital which was also targeted by gunmen. (KR-27/11)

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