Multiple extremist attacks in Mumbai, India kill dozens, injure hundreds
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Scores of people have been killed, and many more wounded, in what appear to have been coordinated attacks by gunmen wielding automatic weapons and hand grenades. The attacks began around 10:30 p.m. IST in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Police reports indicate at least 80 deaths and a further 900 injured. More conservative estimates place the death toll at 78 with over 200 injured. Among the dead is believed to be Anti Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare.
According to television reports, a little-known group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility. The name may refer to the Deccan Plateau, which makes up the majority of southern India.
Sites of the attacks have been listed as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, a hospital, a police station and at least three hotels, including Oberoi Trident and Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. The Marriott Hotel in Juhu has been attacked with gunfire, but details are sketchy. A restaurant, Leopold Cafe on Colaba Causeway was also attacked. Other locations are the Cama Hospital.
The Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident hotels have been surrounded by Indian Rapid Action Force commandos. Gunmen are reported to be holding dozens of hostages, including foreigners, at those locations.
A fire is reported to be spreading through the Taj Mahal hotel. The cause is unknown.
There were hostages at Nariman House in Colaba. This situation has continued all night.
The government has already blamed the attacks on terrorist organizations sponsored by foreign powers.
A number of European Parliament Committee on International Trade delegates were staying in the Taj Mahal hotel when it was attacked. One British MEP, Syed Kamall, left the hotel shortly before the attack to go to a restaurant. Another British MEP, Sajjad Karim, was in the lobby when gunmen initially opened fire there, and was last heard of in hiding in the building; also in hiding was German MEP Erika Mann. Polish MEP Jan Masiel was thought to have been sleeping in his hotel room when the attacks occurred and has not been heard from since, and a Hungarian MEP's assistant was reported shot. Also reported as staying at the hotel, and possibly in danger, is Spanish MEP Ignasi Guardans Cambó.
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