Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror attacks rock Indian city of Mumbai

Flames and smoke gush out of the historic historic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. Indian commandos battled Thursday to end a multiple hostage crisis in Mumbai after Islamic militants killed 125 people across the city and grabbed foreign guests in two luxury hotels.
(AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)

I've seen this story come up over the last two days. From The New York Times:

MUMBAI, India — Coordinated terrorist attacks struck the heart of Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, on Wednesday night, killing dozens in machine-gun and grenade assaults on at least two five-star hotels, the city’s largest train station, a Jewish center, a movie theater and a hospital.

Even by the standards of terrorism in India, which has suffered a rising number of attacks this year, the assaults were particularly brazen in scale and execution. The attackers used boats to reach the urban peninsula where they hit, and their targets were sites popular with tourists.

Map showing coordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. From Yahoo News.

The Mumbai police said Thursday that the attacks killed at least 101 people and wounded at least 250. Guests who had escaped the hotels told television stations that the attackers were taking hostages, singling out Americans and Britons.

A previously unknown group claimed responsibility, though that claim could not be confirmed. It remained unclear whether there was any link to outside terrorist groups.

Gunfire and explosions rang out into the morning.

Indian commandos with sniffer dogs arrive at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. (AFP/Prakash Singh)

Hours after the assaults began, the landmark Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, next to the famed waterfront monument the Gateway of India, was in flames.

The latest New York Times story reports that Indian commando forces have taken control of the two hotels, and are both "searching for survivors and battling bands of gunmen who unleashed two days of chaos" in Mumbai. The remnants of the gunmen are now holed up in the Jewish community center. The death toll is estimated to be around 119 to 125 killed. The death toll just keeps rising.

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