Posted by: informer | November 27, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attack

Mumbai: In one of the most audacious terror attacks in the country, terrorists armed with AK-47s, grenades and low intensity bombs struck at some of Mumbai’s busiest and most opulent sites killing 101people and injuring 187.

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, who was spearheading the Malegaon bomb blast probe, Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar were among the 11 police officials killed during gunbattle with the terrorists.

Here is how it began:

Café Leopold, Colaba

At 2130 hrs IST, three gunmen opened fire at the guests inside an upscale Mumbai restaurant Café Leopold, which is a popular destination with foreign tourists. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.

Maharashtra Director General of Police A N Roy said: “At least seven places have been attacked. The figure could be eight.”

“The terrorists have gone in and fired indiscriminately at certain places. They are still holed up in three places and gun-battles have been on (with security forces).”

The Taj Mahal Hotel

Next on the list was the city’s heritage hotel The Taj Mahal, where about 200 people holed up inside a hall as they were advised by the hotel staff not to go out because of the attack by terrorists.

Police officials said terrorists opened fire at police and paramilitary forces outside the hotel in south Mumbai between 2215 hrs IST and 2230 hrs IST.

The police officials said firing was on near the five-star hotel where around 2,000 guests and staff were stranded. Screams could be heard and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the century-old hotel. Fire-fighters were spraying water at the blaze.

The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said. Several European lawmakers were among people who barricaded themselves inside the Taj.

“I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside,” said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a European Union-India summit.

Hotel Trident (formerly known as Oberoi)

Minutes later, bullets were fired near the Hotel Trident (Oberoi), another five-star hotel barely a kilometre away from the Taj. Part of the hotel was said to be on fire.

At least 1,000 tourists were inside the hotel, which is in a high-security zone and lies just behind the Air India and Maharashtra legislature buildings.

Those trapped in the two hotels included an unspecified number of foreign guests.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Station

At 2233 hrs IST, a couple of terrorists entered the passenger hall of crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal (CST) railway station, formerly Victoria Terminus, and opened fire and threw a grenade killing two to three persons, Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A K Sharma said.

He, however, said 10 persons, including a policeman, were injured in the CST incident.

Eyewitnesses said some people suspected to be terrorists entered the CST building from outside the reservation counter and opened fire indiscriminately.

Two explosions also went off outside CST and eyewitnesses reported they heard gunshots outside the railway station building.

Vile Parle and Mazegaon

Later in the night, two bomb blasts, one in Vile Parle, a residential suburb in north Mumbai, and another in Mazegaon, also injured an unspecified number of people, police officials said.

Later, firing also took place near the Metro cinema, barely a kilometre away from the CST. An eyewitness said the attackers hijacked a police vehicle after opening fire at two policemen in the vehicle.

Five people were killed in a bomb blast targeting a taxi in Vile Parle. The taxi was blown to pieces, police said.

Cama Hospital

Terrorists later took several patients at Mumbai’s Cama hospital hostage. Army and police commandos engaged in fierce gunbattle with the terrorists. According to the latest reports police have succeeded in flushing out terrorists from the Cama Hospital.

Jewish headquarter

Media reports say gunmen seized the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch overnight, and that shots have now been heard coming from the building.

Representatives of the New York-based group referred questions to their Web site, which said the Israeli consulate had earlier been in touch with the rabbi who lived in the house, “but the line was cut in middle of the conversation. No further contact has since been established.”


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