Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Goes in flames

In one of the most violent terror attacks on Indian soil, Mumbai came under an unprecedented night attack as terrorists used heavy machine guns, including AK-47s, and grenades to strike at the city's most high-profile targets -- the hyper-busy CST (formerly VT) rail terminus; the landmark Taj Hotel at the Gateway and the luxury Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point; the domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Cama and GT hospitals near CST; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and Mazgaon Dockyard -- killing at least 101 and sending hundreds of injured to hospital, according to latest reports.

Loud explosions and gunfire continued till late on Thursday night at the Taj Mahal hotel as well as at Trident Oberoi, and the authorities said the operation could well go into Friday.A final assault on the besieged Trident Oberoi was underway. Late in the night, there was a major fire in the Trident where about 200 people have been trapped and terrorists exploded grenades that set the roof ablaze amid exchange of gunfire.

The attacks appeared to be aimed at getting international attention as the terrorists took upto 40 British nationals and other foreigners hostage. The chairman of Hindustan Unilever Harish Manwani and CEO of the company Nitin Paranjpe were among the guests trapped at the Oberoi. All the internal board members of the multinational giant were reported to be holed up in the Oberoi hotel.

(The map depicts the locations that the attacks took place)

Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday refused to comment on investigations into the Mumbai terror attacks till the operations to flush out terrorists are over.

"I will not talk on investigations till the operations are complete. Let the security forces first flush out terrorists from Nariman House and hotels," he told reporters outside the Oberoi-Trident Hotel, the scene of the terror attacks.

Read more on the attack