Terror strikes Mumbai
Over 125 people killed including 14 police personnel,
327 injured including seven foreigners:
INDIA: Indian commandos freed hostages from Mumbai’s Taj Mahal
hotel yesterday but battled on with Islamist militants who launched an
audacious attack across India’s financial capital, killing over 125
people including 14 police personnel.
Seven terrorists were also killed and several were arrested.
A policeman walks with an elderly man after the shootings at
a railway station in Mumbai on Wednesday night. Reuters
The gunmen arrived by boats in Mumbai on Wednesday, before fanning
out and attacking luxury hotels, a landmark cafe, hospitals and a
railway station, firing indiscriminately.
Some 17 hours after the late-evening assault, soldiers and militants
were still exchanging intermittent fire and more than 100 people were
trapped inside rooms of the Taj Mahal hotel, a 105-year-old city
“People who were held up there, they have all been rescued,”
Maharashtra state police chief A.N. Roy told the NDTV news channel. “But
there are guests in the rooms, we don’t know how many.”
Roy said some people were still apparently being held hostage at the
nearby Trident/Oberoi Hotel. “That is why the operation is being
conducted more sensitively to ensure there are no casualties of innocent
Police said at least six foreigners were killed and another 327
people were wounded in the attacks, which were claimed by the
little-known Deccan Mujahideen group.
Sharda Janardhan Chitikar is consoled by a relative as she
grieves the death of her two children and waits for their
bodies outside St. Georges Hospital in Mumbai, on Thursday.
“Release all the mujahideens, and Muslims living in India should not
be troubled,” said a militant inside the Oberoi, speaking to Indian
television by telephone.
The man, who identified himself only as Sahadullah, said he was one
of seven attackers inside the hotel, and wanted Islamist militants to be
freed from Indian jails.
Later, an explosion was heard at the hotel, a Reuters witness said.
At least two guests, trapped in their rooms in the Taj, also phoned
TV stations. One said the firedoors were locked, and another said he had
seen two bodies by the swimming pool.
“Two of my colleagues are still in there and the last we heard from
them was three hours ago and then the phone battery died,” said a German
national who escaped the Taj.
The attacks were bound to spook investors in one of Asia’s largest
and fastest-growing economies.
Mumbai has seen several major bomb attacks in the past, but never
anything so obviously targeted at foreigners.
Authorities closed stock, bond and foreign exchange markets, and the
Central Bank said it would continue auctions to keep cash flowing
through interbank lending markets, which seized up after the global
The militants struck at the heart of Mumbai’s financial and tourist
centre on Wednesday, with one of the first targets the Cafe Leopold, a
famous hangout popular with foreign tourists. They fired automatic
weapons indiscriminately and threw grenades before settling in for a
long siege at the Taj and the Trident/Oberoi. “There could be 100-200
people inside the (Trident/Oberoi) hotel, but we cannot give you the
exact figure as many people have locked themselves inside their rooms,”
Maharashtra state deputy chief minister R.R. Patil told reporters.
Guests at the Taj hotel are rescued from the hotel in Mumbai
on Thursday morning. Reuters
“There could be 10-12 terrorists inside the hotel,” he said.
“There are no negotiations with the terrorists.”
The attackers appeared to target British and Americans as they sought
hostages. Israelis were also among the hostages, a television channel
reported, while police said an Israeli rabbi was also being held by
gunmen in a Mumbai apartment.
Witnesses said the attackers were young South Asian men in their
early 20s, most likely Indians, speaking Hindi or Urdu. Television
footage showed gunmen in a pick-up truck spraying people with rifle fire
as the vehicle drove down a Mumbai street.
Hotel staff evacuated wounded on luggage trolleys, with passers-by
covered in blood after they rushed to help. Some clambered down ladders
Opposition leader L. K. Advani cancelled plans to campaign for
ongoing state elections and prepared to visit the city, the Press Trust
of India reported.
Strategic expert Uday Bhaskar said the attacks could inflame tensions
between Hindus and Muslims.
“The fact that they were trying to segregate British and American
passport holders definitely suggests Islamist fervour,” Bhaskar said.
Police said they had shot dead four gunmen and arrested nine
suspects. They said 12 policemen were killed, including Hemant Karkare,
the chief of the police anti-terrorist squad in Mumbai.
Schools were closed and a curfew was imposed around the Gateway of
India, a colonial-era monument. But train services were running as
normal taking people to work in the stunned city.
Rakesh Patel, a British witness who was staying at the Taj Mahal
hotel on business, said the attackers were looking for British and U.S.
“They came from the restaurant and took us up the stairs. They had
bombs. Young boys, maybe 20 years old, 25 years old.
They had two guns,” he told the NDTV channel, smoke stains covering
An Australian, an Italian and a Japanese national were among those
killed in the attacks, their governments said.