Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Despair and joy in the battle for Mumbai hostages

As Indian commandos stormed the hotels and a Jewish centre, they found survivors – and the victims of a bloody massacre. By Andrew Buncombe and Richard Orange.

People take cover at the sound of gunfire outside The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India's financial capital a day after suspected Muslim militants killed people. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
A still taken from Indian TV of an armed man at the Chhatrapati Sivaji railway station in Mumbai
A gunman walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008.
Flames come from a room of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India's financial capital a day after suspected Muslim militants killed people. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Guests and hotel staff are being rescued by a firefighter at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
Armed personnel keep watch outside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, India, late Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India's financial capital a day after suspected Muslim militants killed 104 people. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
An armed personnel looks on as he keeps watch outside the Taj Palace hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandos raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, held by well-trained heavily armed gunmen, in a coordinated series of attacks.(AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Smoke and flames rising from one of the wings of the Taj Palace Hotel, are also reflected in car window, in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. 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 at least 119 people dead. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Indian army soldiers take positions near the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India's financial capital a day after suspected Muslim militants killed people. Backdrop is of the Air India building. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Armed security personnel wait outside the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India's financial capital a day after suspected Muslim militants killed people. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Indian army soldiers take up positions near the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Black-clad Indian commandos raided two luxury hotels in the city, to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India's financial capital a day after suspected Muslim militants killed people. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Armed gunmen are seen moving at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Mumbai Mirror, Sebastian D'souza) ** INDIA OUT CREDIT MANDATORY **
National Security Guard commandoes take position near an apartment where suspected gunmen have held a family hostage in Colaba, Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
National Security Guard commandoes secure an area near an apartment where suspected gunmen have held a family hostage in Colaba, Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Local people gather to watch action as policemen and commandoes surround an apartment where suspected gunmen have held a family hostage in Colaba, Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Indian Army personnel take positions outside the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Indian Army personnel move in to take positions outside the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
A terrorist attack victim's body is shifted to an ambulance to be taken for postmortem outside the St. Georges Hospital in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Rescue and security personnel carry a body from the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
A local man ducks for cover as he crosses an alleyway exposed to fire from alleged gunmen holding a family hostage in Colaba, Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
A grieving relative of a terrorist attack victim, facing camera, is consoled by other outside the St. Georges Hospital in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 101 people, taking Westerners hostage and leaving parts of the city under siege Thursday, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Sharda Janardhan Chitikar, left, is consoled by a relative as she grieves the death of her two children in a terrorist attack as she waits for their bodies outside St. Georges Hospital in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish group's headquarters, killing people, and holding Westerners hostage in coordinated attacks on the nation's commercial center that were blamed on Muslim militants. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Sharda Janardhan Chitikar, center, is consoled by relatives as she grieves the death of her two children in a terrorist attack as she waits for their bodies outside St. Georges Hospital in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish group's headquarters, killing people, and holding Westerners hostage in coordinated attacks on the nation's commercial center that were blamed on Muslim militants. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Supporters of Socialist Party burn an effigy of a terrorist involved in Mumbai shooting, in Allahabad, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish group's headquarters, killing people, and holding Westerners hostage in coordinated attacks on the nation's commercial center that were blamed on Muslim militants. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An Indian security person stands outside a hotel where the cricket teams of England and India are staying in Bhubaneswar, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. The remainder of England's limited-overs cricket tour of India has been scrapped and a Champions League Twenty20 tournament scheduled for next week is in doubt following terror attacks in Mumbai.(AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** Luggage of passengers lie scattered on a blood splattered platform at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Police say several people have been wounded in a series of attacks by terrorist gunmen at seven sites in Mumbai, including two luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo)
Army soldiers take position outside the Taj Hotel, Mumbai's landmark hotel, after an terror attack in Mumbai on Wednesday night November 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
Police examine a damaged vehicle at the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India's financial capital, on Wednesday evening. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
Unidentified guests of The Taj Hotel comfort each other in an ambulance after they were rescued from the hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
A foreign tourist breaks down after being rescued safely from a hotel following an attack in Mumbai in Mumbai, India, Wednesday night, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
Fire engulfs a part of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Employees of the Taj Hotel comfort each other after they were rescued from the hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen have stormed luxury hotels and other sites in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Fire fighter rescues a guest of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen have stormed luxury hotels and other sites in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
** ALTERNATE CROP ** Employees of The Taj Hotel comfort each other after they were rescued from the hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Scene at the site of a blast in Coilaba, a market in downtown Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
An unidentified guest of the Taj Hotel watches other guests being rescued from a window of the hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen have stormed luxury hotels and other sites in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
** ALTERNATE CROP ** Unidentified guests of the Taj Hotel comfort each other in an ambulance after they were rescued from the hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen have stormed luxury hotels and other sites in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
** ALTERNATE CROP ** A firefighter rescues guests of The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Police officers inspect a car after they shot dead two suspects in Mumbai, India, on late Wednesday night November 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** A victim of a gun attack lies on a hospital bed at the St. George's hospital in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Indian police say several people have been wounded when gunmen opened fire on at least seven places in Mumbai, including luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
The Taj Hotel, Mumbai's landmark hotel, is caught fire after an attack in Mumbai, India's financial capital, on early Thursday morning November 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
A man carries a victim of a gun attack at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. A top state officials says at least 40 people have been killed and 100 have been injured when gunmen opened fire on a crowded Mumbai train station, luxury hotels and a restaurant popular with tourists. Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, says the death toll could rise further. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
A police officer watches the Taj Hotel, Mumbai's landmark hotel, after an attack in Mumbai, India's financial capital, on Wednesday night November 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
Smoke emerges from behind a dome on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital, killing at least 78 people and wounding at least 200, officials said. The gunmen were specifically targeting Britons and Americans, media reports said, and may be holding hostages. The gunmen also attacked police headquarters in south Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks, which began late Wednesday and continued into Thursday morning, took place. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
A man injured in firing leans on a railing in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Police say several people have been wounded in a series of attacks by terrorist gunmen at seven sites in Mumbai, including two luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo)
Fire engulfs a part of the Taj Mahal Hotel as firemen try to douse it in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A previously unknown group, apparently Muslim militants, took responsibility for the attacks. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Policemen stand guard on a street at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Indian police say several people have been wounded when gunmen opened fire on at least seven places in Mumbai, including luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo)
Flames and smoke erupt from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A previously unknown group, apparently Muslim militants, took responsibility for the attacks. A raging fire and explosions struck one of the hotels, the landmark Taj Mahal, early Thursday. (AP Photo/STAR NEWS) ** INDIA OUT TV OUT **
Flames erupt from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A previously unknown group, apparently Muslim militants, took responsibility for the attacks. A raging fire and explosions struck one of the hotels, the landmark Taj Mahal, early Thursday. (AP Photo/STAR NEWS) ** INDIA OUT TV OUT **
The Taj Hotel, Mumbai's landmark hotel, is caught fire after an attack in Mumbai, India's financial capital, on early Thursday morning November 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. (AP Photo)
** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** A victim of a gun attack lies on a hospital bed at the St. George's hospital in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Indian police say several people have been wounded when gunmen opened fire on at least seven places in Mumbai, including luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
People stand around a damaged vehicle at the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo)
A cart stands amidst shattered glass on an empty platform at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Police say several people have been wounded in a series of attacks by terrorist gunmen at seven sites in Mumbai, including two luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo)
A man shows the wounds of another man who was injured in a gunbattle at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Indian police say several people have been wounded when gunmen opened fire on at least seven places in Mumbai, including luxury hotels. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, says police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo)
A man injured in a gunbattle is carried to a hospital, at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Thursday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. (AP Photo)
Policemen inspect the site of a gun attack at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital, killing 16 people and wounding 90, officials and media reports said. A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, said police continued to battle the gunmen. (AP Photo)
An injured man lies on a hotel's baggage trolley in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo/STAR NEWS) ** INDIA OUT TV OUT **
Firefighters inspect the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo)
A fire burns at the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008
People stand around a damaged vehicle at the site of an explosion in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo)
Police officers at the scene of a restaurant attack in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo/NDTV) ** INDIA OUT TV OUT **
People seek cover at the front of a hotel in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo/STAR NEWS) ** INDIA OUT TV OUT **

Five hostages held by gunmen in a Jewish community centre, including a rabbi and his wife, were found dead last night after commandos killed two militants and stormed the building, all but bringing to an end Mumbai's ordeal of terror and violence.

Local people broke out in celebratory cheers after the commandos emerged from the besieged centre, their rifles raised in a sign of victory. However, Indian and Israeli officials who entered the building confirmed that none of the hostages who had been held since Wednesday evening had survived. The circumstances of how they were killed was unclear.



The storming of the community centre, located in the Colaba Market neighbourhood of south Mumbai, effectively brought to an end the security forces' operations against the militants.



Earlier in the day, commandos entered the Trident-Oberoi hotel, killing two militants and freeing 143 guests, including several Britons, who had been barricaded inside their rooms. Officials said that 24 bodies had been found in the hotel. "The hotel is under our control," Jyoti Krishna Dutt, director general of the country's National Security Guard commando unit, told reporters.



Mark Abell, one of the Britons released, emerged from the hotel with a broad smile on his face. He, like the others released, had locked himself in his room as soon as gunmen overran the building. "I'm going home," he said. "I'm going to see my wife."



Meanwhile, at the Taj Mahal hotel, security officials said last night they believed that "three or four" gunmen remained inside the building, holed up in a ballroom. Crackles of sporadic gunfire and explosions could still be heard coming from the hotel, but the Indian authorities believed there were no more hostages trapped inside. Security forces surrounding the hotel stepped up their operations with the use of grenades in an effort to kill those militants still holding out.



One gunman "is moving in two floors. There is a dance floor area where apparently he has cut off all the lights," said Lieutenant-General N Thamburaj. "It's just a matter of a few hours that we'll be able to wrap up things." One senior commando said he had seen at least 50 bodies inside the 565-room hotel, including 15 in one room alone. This would push the death toll even higher.



Last night the death toll stood at more than 150 with close to 400 others injured. It was reported that 22 of the dead were foreigners. In the coming days, however, attention will focus on the perpetrators and their modus operandi for carrying out what was, to all intents, a suicide mission.



After the taking of the Jewish centre Mr Dutt told reporters: "On the second floor, we found three bodies of hostages. They had been killed long before. We found two terrorists on the fourth floor and neutralised them. We also found two bodies of hostages there."



The Jewish centre had been run by Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg, 29, originally from New York, and his 26-year-old wife, Rivka. They had arrived in Mumbai five years ago, dispatched by the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch organisation, and had become popular members of the local community.



Their two-year-old son, Moshe, was rescued on Thursday by the couple's maid and taken to safety. It was understood he had been taken into the care of his grandparents, who flew to Mumbai.



In New York, the organisation issued a statement, saying: "Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice. [They] gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists."



Yesterday evening, officials from the Israeli medical emergency organisation Zaka, tasked with collecting the remains of Orthodox Jews, entered the community centre.



Meanwhile outside, crowds cheered the end of the siege, chanting "Jai Hind" and offering prayers to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god popular in Mumbai. "They are praising their god because he has brought us victory over the terrorists," said one local resident.



Earlier in the day, commandos could be seen abseiling from ropes thrown from helicopters on to the roof of the community centre where they set up positions. Throughout the day, gunfire and explosions could be heard as police snipers and militants exchanged fire. It is understood that the commandos were trying to use stun grenades to dislodge the gunmen. However, in the evening, a large explosion rang out, marking the commandos' decision to use explosives to storm the building.



By that point, the commandos had presumably reached the conclusion that there was no chance of saving the hostages, or else that they were already dead.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz