Army commandos moved into the luxury Oberoi and the Taj Mahal hotels early this morning to flush out terrorists after gunmen went on the rampage in 10 places in South Mumbai killing 80 persons and taking some foreigners hostage, reports The Times of India published from Mumbai. More than 900 people were taken to hospital.
Mumbai counter-terrorist chief killed
Four suspected terrorists were killed in two separate incidents overnight including two during a gun battle in the landmark Taj hotel, police said.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister R R Patil said nine suspected terrorists have been arrested. Schools and colleges were ordered to be closed.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said five police officers including Anti Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare were killed.
British politician in barricaded hotel room
A British member of the European parliament, Sajjad Karim, holed up in a barricaded basement room in the 105-year-old waterfront Taj hotel, said by mobile phone: "We are now in the dark in this room and we've barricaded all the doors. It's really bad," reported the Guardian.
Terrorists used heavy machine guns, including AK-47s, and grenades to strike at the city's most high-profile targets including
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) — formerly Victoria Terminus — one of the world's busiest railway stations and a World Heritage site
- The domestic airport at Santa Cruz
- The Cama and GT hospitals near the railway station
- Mazgaon Dockyard.
A little-known outfit, Deccan Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for
the attacks. But the most obvious suspect will be a group calling
itself the Indian Mujahideen, an offshoot of the banned SIMI (the
Students Islamic Movement), which earlier claimed responsibility for
bombings in Delhi, Bangalore, Jaipur and Ahmedabad and threatened
Mumbai would be next, said the Guardian.
Over the past 20 years, Mumbai — home to 20 million people — has suffered vicious communal riots, repeated bomb attacks, persistent gang violence, and political assassinations, said the BBC. It is India's most prosperous city; the country's growing prosperity is in large part built on the city's commercial success.
The New York Times is tracking the situation on its blog, The Lede.
The Indian TV channel NDTV is live telecasting from Mumbai on its website. The video can be emailed and shared on social networks.
The Guardian has this timeline of terrorist strikes in India.
March 12, 1993
257 killed and more than 1,000 injured in 15 co-ordinated bomb attacks in Bombay. The attacks were seen as retaliation for earlier anti-Muslim riots that left hundreds dead
February 14, 1998
46 people were killed and more than 200 injured in 13 car bombs in the city of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The attacks were blamed on the "Al Umma" Islamist group
December 13, 2001
7 killed when five gunmen, one wearing a suicide vested, attack the parliament complex in New Delhi. The assailants all died in the attack, and four members of the Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed were later convicted for their part in the plot
August 25, 2003
At least 45 people killed and 150 injured when twin car bombs exploded, one near the Taj Mahal hotel, and the other in a jewellery market near the Mumba Devi temple in central Mumbai. No group claimed responsibility, but authorities blamed the Kashmiri Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba
October 29, 2005
61 killed and at least 210 injured when three bombs explode in markets in New Delhi two days before the Hindu festival of Diwali. A little-known Kashmiri militant organisation, Islami Inqilabi Mahaz (Islamic Revolutionary Group) claimed responsibility, but authorities blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba
July 11, 2006
At least 200 killed and 700 injuried when seven bombs exploded in crowded commuter trains during the evening rush hour near Mumbai. Police blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
August 25, 2007
At least 42 people killed when two bombs exploded in Hyderabad's Lumbini park and a restaurant
May 13, 2008
At least 60 killed in 9 bombs in Jaipur
July 26, 2008
At least 45 people killed in a string of bomb attacks in Ahmedabad. Within an 17 bombs exploded in residential areas, market places, hospitals and on public transport
October 30, 2008
At least 40 killed in a string of bomb explosions in north-eastern state of Assam. More than 150 others were injured, mostly in the main city of Guwahati.