119 Killed as Gunmen Rampage in India City

By: Ramola Talwar Badam AP
By: Ramola Talwar Badam AP

MUMBAI, India (AP) - Indian commandoes killed the last three gunman at a landmark hotel late Thursday and were sweeping another luxury hotel in search of hostages and trapped people after suspected Muslim militants stormed targets across Mumbai, leaving 119 people dead.

Meanwhile, there were conflicting reports about the beseiged headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch. A diplomat who has been monitoring the situation closely said no hostages were released. He spoke on the customary condition
of anonymity, and contradicted an Indian official who said earlier that eight hostages from the center were freed.

The diplomat said the eight people had likely been hiding in a nearby building.

Gunfire and explosions could be heard well into the night from the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the city's top gathering spots for the Mumbai elite, as well as at Jewish group's center. Throughout the day, commandoes brought hostages, trapped guests and corpses from the hotels in small groups.

The gunmen's main targets appeared to be Americans, Britons and Jews, though most of the dead seemed to be Indians and foreign tourists caught in random gunfire.

But clearly the gunmen - some of whom strode casually through their targets in khakis and T-shirts - came ready for a siege.

"They have AK-47s and grenades. They have bags full of grenades and have come fully prepared," said Maj. Gen. R.K. Hooda.

Ratan Tata, who runs the company that owns the elegant Taj Mahal hotel, said they appeared to have scouted their targets in advance.

"They seem to know their way around the back office, the kitchen. There has been a considerable amount of detailed planning," he said at a press conference.

India has been shaken repeatedly by terror attacks blamed on Muslim militants in recent years, but most of those attacks have been coordinated bombings that struck random crowded places: markets, street corners, parks.

The Wednesday night attacks were far more sophisticated - and more brazen.

They began at about 9:20 p.m. with the shooters spraying gunfire across the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station, one of the world's busiest terminals. For the next two hours, there was an attack roughly every 15 minutes - the Jewish center, a tourist restaurant, one hotel, then another, and two attacks on hospitals. There were 10 targets in all.
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Associated Press writers Anita Chang, Erika Kinetz and Jenny
Barchfield contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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