Hostages 'freed' in Taj Mahal hotel battle

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Hostages 'freed' in Taj Mahal hotel battle

Post by Baz on Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:51 am



At least 101 people are dead, including one Briton, and 314 have been injured in a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai as armed battles continue to rage.

Police and gunmen were involved in a stand-off at two luxury hotels in the Indian city.

According to reports, a number of hostages have been freed from five star hotels where they were being held.

Seven Britons are among the hundreds wounded in the raids yesterday which targeted British and American citizens.

An Indian official said a Briton, an Australian and a Japanese were among the dead. An Italian was also killed.

Hostages, some believed to be Western, are being held in the Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi Trident hotels which were among the sites attacked.

Between 10 and 12 terrorists are holding between 100 and 200 hostages in the Oberoi. Both hotels were ringed by Indian troops this morning, and commandos are preparing to storm the buildings.

Witnesses reported hearing explosions at the Oberoi hotel this morning.

"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.

An explosion has also been heard at the Taj Hotel, even though some hostages have left the building. Guests were seen using blankets tied together to lower themselves to safety. Bodies have also been taken out of the hotel.

Hostages are also believed to be held in an office block in the city's financial district.

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.

A boat filled with explosives and ammunition was found near the Gateway of India and has been safely defused.

The Indian navy says its forces are boarding a cargo vessel suspected of ties to the attacks.

The British High Commissioner in India, Sir Richard Stagg, said: "We have visited most of the central hospitals where those injured have been taken and have met seven British victims who are in hospital at the moment and we understand there is likely to be some other injured of British nationality."

The terrorists used grenades and automatic weapons. Police say the dead include six foreigners, 14 police officers and 81 Indian nationals.

Last night gunmen stormed sites including the two hotels, a train station, a hospital and a restaurant.

A group called Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses say police commandoes surrounded the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch today, which armed gunmen seized overnight.

One witness said shots were heard this morning and commandoes fired tear gas at least once at the house.

Another witness said three people were led from the building and escorted away by police.

Alex Chamberlain, who works for a sports website and was in the city on business, said he believed the gunmen were looking for British and American visitors.

He said: "They told everybody to stop and put their hands up and asked if there were any British or Americans.

"My friend said to me, 'Don't be a hero, don't say you are British'."

The British Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to the region in light of the attacks.

A statement on the department's website urges against all but essential travel to Mumbai.

Anyone living in the city should "stay indoors until local authorities advise it is safe to go outside," it urges.

The Foreign Office emergency number for people worried about friends or relatives is 020 7008 0000.


Original article here

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Re: Hostages 'freed' in Taj Mahal hotel battle

Post by Dave Mercury on Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:02 am

Another terrible incident, over 100 dead now, and you can bet more will follow. The Indian PM has vowed to take "whatever measures are necessary" to track down those responsible, he's said the perpetrators were based "outside the country" and India would not tolerate "neighbours" who provide a haven to militants targeting it.
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Re: Hostages 'freed' in Taj Mahal hotel battle

Post by jackie 46 on Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:03 pm

Saw this on the news today.
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