Troops battle to secure Mumbai hotel

Monday 01 December 2008 12.07
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Taj Mahal Hotel - At least one attacker still free
Taj Mahal Hotel - At least one attacker still free
Mumbai - Indian troops drop to building
Mumbai - Indian troops drop to building
Nariman House - Hostages found dead
Nariman House - Hostages found dead
Indian army - Commandos describe fight to free hostages
Indian army - Commandos describe fight to free hostages

Indian commandos are still battling to secure Mumbai's historic Taj Mahal hotel, with one or two heavily armed militants holed up inside.

Intense gunfire and large explosions were heard from inside the hotel tonight.

This afternoon, four grenades were launched into a part of the hotel where the militant or militants were believed to be hiding.

Fire was returned, sending media workers opposite the hotel scattering.

Forces besieging a Jewish centre in the city blew a hole in an outside wall of the building to gain entry.

Mumbai's police chief has said five hostages have been found dead inside the centre.

'Five hostages have been killed,' said Hasan Ghafoor.

A Brooklyn-based rabbi and his wife are amomg those to have been killed in the siege.

Earlier, Indian commandos rappeled from helicopters onto the roof to flush out militants.

The centre is known variously as Nariman House or the Chabad house, and contains a restaurant and a synagogue.

The other main siege site, the Trident-Oberoi hotels complex, was reported 'completely cleared' earlier this morning.

Up to 155 people have been killed and 327 others have been injured in the violence.

A total of eight foreigners were killed and 22 others injured in the attacks.

Three of those killed were Germans, two US citizens, one Japanese national, one Canadian and one Australian.

Among the injured were three Germans, one Chinese, two Americans, five Britons, one Norwegian, one Spanish, one Canadian, one Finnish, one Australian, one Italian, two from Oman and one from the Philippines.

The nationality of two other injured foreigners has not yet been established.

Police found 24 bodies at the Trident-Oberoi during operations to regain control of the hotel.

Mr Ghafoor told reporters outside the hotel that the operation was complete. Nearly 100 people were rescued from the hotel earlier.

As military operations continue to secure various locations in the city, there are concerns that the death toll from Wednesday's attacks may rise.

An Indian commando leader has told a news conference that he saw up to 50 bodies at the Taj Mahal Palace.

There were reports of renewed gunfire at the hotel. At least 130 people are known to have been killed so far.

Indian marine commandos have described their operation to free hostages.

Soldiers said the guerrillas showed no remorse and fired at anyone who moved.

The commandos, who belong to India's Marine Commando Force known as MARCOS, told reporters: 'We could have got those terrorists but for so many hotel guests.'

They described bodies lying 'strewn here and there'.

'There was blood all over and in trying to avoid the casualty of those civilians, we had to be that much more careful,' they said.