In India's financial hub of Mumbai,
commandoes and troops have mounted an operation to clear two luxury hotels
seized by gunmen. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, at least 101 people
have been killed and as many as 287 wounded in coordinated attacks mounted by
terrorists at night.
A crack team of 200 commandoes flew in to
Mumbai from New Delhi early Thursday to take charge of rescue operations in two
of the city's most posh hotels - the Taj Mahal hotel and Oberoi Hotel. Soldiers
have ringed the hotels.
Sporadic gunshots could be heard outside as
commandoes entered the hotels.
The two hotels were among several high profile targets
attacked by gunmen who fired indiscriminately and tossed grenades late
Wednesday. Since then, an unknown number of people - both foreigners and Indians
- are trapped inside parts of the hotels, popular with both business travelers
Some foreigners are believed to be held hostage by the
Some people evacuated overnight
Through the night, fire crews
evacuated a number of people from the Taj Mahal hotel where a grenade apparently
caused a huge blaze in a part of the building.
Some of the people
trapped inside, like this guest at Taj Hotel, managed to communicate what was
happening to reporters via their phones.
"Till about 15 minutes ago,
near my room, in the stairwell, there was lot of firing going on, automatic
weapons," says a guest. "The hotel management has done a very good job… They
told us to turn the lights off, shut the curtains and stay inside and do not
answer the door."
Home minister says attacks highly planned
Junior federal Home
Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal says the terror attacks were highly planned and
some of the worst ever in the country.
Jaiswal says the government
looks upon the terror attacks as a war and will fight it in the same way as a
war is fought.
Mumbai has virtually come to a standstill as
police have advised people to stay indoors. The stock markets have been shut as
authorities cope with one of the worst terror attacks ever in the country. Among
those killed were Mumbai's anti-terror chief and at least 11 policemen.
Hospitals are filled with casualties as hundreds have been wounded in
the attacks. There are several foreigners among those hospitalized.
little known group called the Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for