Oberoi Hotel Mumbai attacked

Army commandoes moved into the luxury Oberoi and the Taj Mahal hotels early on Thursday to flush out mumbai9terrorists holed up hours after anunspecified number of heavily armed gunmen went on a rampage in ten places in South Mumbai killing 80 persons and taking some foreigners hostage.

Four suspected terrorists were killed in two separate incidents overnight including two during a gun battle in the country’s iconic 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 in one of the worst terror strikes in the country’s financial capital that in all claimed the lives of at least 11 police personnel.

“The operation (by security forces) is still going on,” he said. Besides army commandoes, naval commandos and Rapid Action force personnel joined in the operations to rescue those stranded in the two hotels. Five columns of Army and 200 NSG commandoes have been rushed. Two sten guns have been recovered by police so far, he added.

Deshmukh said it was not immediately known how many terrorists were involved in the audacious attack in ten places that shook the western metropolis. The chief minister said the Taj and Oberoi is not in control yet. He said there are no terrorists in Cama hospital which was also targeted by gunmen.

Police reported that some hostages were still being held at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi with eyewitnesses saying the gunmen had targeted foreigners after they kept shouting: “Who has US or UK passports?” Several guests were also stuck. Fire was still raging in the old wing of Taj hotel several hours after it was rocked by five to six blasts and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the the century-old edifice on Mumbai’s waterfront.

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