Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mayhem In Mumbai - Coordinated Terror Attack. At Least 82 Killed

Teams of 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 82 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility.

Parts of the city remained under siege as dawn approached Thursday, with police and gunmen exchanging occasional gunfire at two hotels and an unknown number of people still held hostage, said A.N. Roy, a top police official. Soldiers also took up positions across the city.

A raging fire and explosions struck the landmark Taj Mahal hotel shortly after midnight. Screams could be heard and black smoke billowed from the century-old edifice on Mumbai's waterfront. Firefighters sprayed water at the blaze and plucked people from windows and balconies with extension ladders.

The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said. Officials said at least 200 people were wounded.

The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.

State home secretary Bipin Shrimali said four suspects had been killed in two incidents when they tried to flee in cars, and Roy said two more gunmen were killed at the Taj Mahal. State Home Minister R.R. Patil said nine more were captured. They declined to provide any further details.

An Indian media report said a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets. There was no way to verify the claim.

Police reported hostages being held at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the best-known upscale destinations in this crowded but wealthy city.

Gunmen who burst into the Taj "were targeting foreigners. They kept shouting: "Who has U.S. or U.K. passports?" said Ashok Patel, a British citizen who fled from the hotel.

Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were hostages at the Taj Mahal, but it was not immediately clear if hostages at the Oberoi were Indians or foreigners, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official. It was also unclear where the hostages were in the Taj Mahal, which is divided into an older wing, which was in flames, and a modern tower that was not on fire.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said U.S. officials were not aware of any American casualties, but were still checking. He said he could not address reports that Westerners might be among the hostages.

"The United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will continue to stand with the people of India in this time of tragedy," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "President Bush offers his condolences to the Indian people and the families of the innocent civilians killed and injured in the attacks."

Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said 82 people had been killed and 120 had been wounded.

Officials at Bombay Hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans were admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshot wounds. All were brought in from the Taj Mahal, the officials said.

At least three top Indian police officers - including the chief of the anti-terror squad - were among those killed, said Roy, the senior police official.

Blood smeared the floor of the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, where attackers sprayed bullets into the crowded terminal. Press Trust of India quoted the chief of the Mumbai railway police, A.K. Sharma, as saying several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up at the station.

Other gunmen attacked Leopold's restaurant, a landmark popular with foreigners, and the police headquarters in southern Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.

Officials also reported that terrorists attacked the city's Cama and Albless Hospital and G.T. Hospital, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was killed in those places.

A British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi hotel told Sky News television that the gunmen who struck there singled out Britons and Americans.

Alex Chamberlain said a gunman, a young man of 22 or 23, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands. He said the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu.

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything - and thank God they didn't," he said.

Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.

Early Thursday, several European lawmakers were among people who barricaded themselves inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.

"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.

As he turned to get away, "all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.

Hours later, Karim remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure if it was safe to come out.

The British Foreign Office said it was advising all British citizens in Mumbai to stay indoors.

Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, strongly condemned the attacks. "Today's attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists," Miliband said in a statement.

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.

Mumbai has been hit repeatedly by terror attacks since March 1993, when Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carried out a series of bombings on Mumbai's stock exchange, trains, hotels and gas stations. Authorities say those attacks, which killed 257 people and wounded more than 1,100, were carried out to avenge the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots that had swept India.

Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in 2006 a series of seven blasts on railway trains and at commuter rail stations killed at least 187.

Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947. (Huffington Post)

***** I'm sure that the influence of yoga on people had nothing to do with the terrorist bombings in Mumbai. Since some of the extremists have been captured we can expect that over the next few days and weeks, details about the groups responsible for this senseless violence will come out.
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16 Comments:

Blogger Jed Yoong said...

too much kundalini. ;)
kabOOOM!

11:17 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Horizon said...

This is sad.

Let us pray for harmony and peace...

12:34 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kopitelp16 said...

A really sad day for mankind. Why must people resort to violence just to let others know of their intentions? Using Islam or any other religion is a real insult!

12:50 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all a Zionist conspiracy by those damn Khazars/fake Jews to run down Islam. Yeah, that's it.

12:57 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous fecto said...

regardless of which "terrorist" or any group that launched the attack,they must be dragged forward and punished for what they did.any people who abuse religion to resort to violence is an act that smear the good name of the religion itself.

1:41 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kopitelp16 said...

I agree with fecto. These terrorists that hides behind religion and kill people in the name of their religion ought to be banished forever and never to be admitted as a believer. Religion especially Islam has been abused to many times. It's a peace loving and reasonable religion, only these idiots think Islam is otherwise! Please don't drag Islam thru the mud!

2:03 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kopitelp16 said...

I agree with fecto. These terrorists that hides behind religion and kill people in the name of their religion ought to be banished forever and never to be admitted as a believer. Religion especially Islam has been abused to many times. It's a peace loving and reasonable religion, only these idiots think Islam is otherwise! Please don't drag Islam thru the mud!

2:03 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous blogger said...

"Its likely a combination of Mumbai gangland activity wound up with Pakistan ISI-backed Islamist groups.

There was an excellent program on this subject in the Crime and Investigation Network last month.
I didn't pay much attention to it then - until today.

The explosive economic growth in the Mumbai area has funneled huge amounts of money into their criminal gangs. A few of them have found it useful to ally themselves with Islamist militants in their on-going battle with the police."

- taken from a comment in here!

2:21 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people who abuse religion to resort to violence is an act that smear the good name of the religion itself.

Religion especially Islam has been abused to many times. It's a peace loving and reasonable religion, only these idiots think Islam is otherwise!

fecto and kopitelp16, how many more bombings do you need to see before you'll actually make the effort to read up on the tenets of that ol' "religion of peace" Islam? "Abuse religion"?! "Peace loving and reasonable"?! Those mass murderers are the real Muslims acting as Allah commanded in pure Islam. They did not abuse their religion. The radicals/extremists who hijack/abuse the religion are people like the deluded Sisters in Islam and that Fantasy Island Islamist, Malaysia Today's RPK.

4:10 PM GMT+8  
Blogger K P VARAN said...

It is reported that Hindu Extremists ans Chauvinists have also established Terror Groups on the lines of the Islamic groups and if this is so and if the groups start increasing in numbers, India is going to be a tinderbox and all her claims to becoming a Super power would come to naught.

Mahatma Ghandi's appeal for Non Violence will pass into history as violence begets violence and the innocent bear the brunt of the Political Power struggle now gripping the Sub continent composed of Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma and Iran. These nations ( they were not so in ancient days ) but became so by a quirk of history and have been at each others wealth or control over the other since before Cyrus the Great.

Since the first invasion of the sub continent now being India in the 700s till the coming of the British, it is said that more than 90,000,000 Hindus were slaughtered thus being the lomgest and largest progrom or holocaust in the History of the World. Is the world going to sit and watch this holocaust being extended even further. India is no more the sub continent of yore.

The aces may be to the advantage of the other side now with most of us caught in the nexus.

5:03 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That fool Gandhi is long dead. Get over it. All that non-violence bullshit that he peddled may have worked with the British, but I can guarantee you that it will be a bloodbath when it comes to Muslims.

5:51 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most likely the terrorists are Afghans, searching for Brits and Americans to repay them for what their armies are doing in Afghanistan

7:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous farkingmad said...

No yoga, no alcohol, nothing! They just wanna kill everyone!

8:46 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous tdas said...

What we realy need is tolerance, understanding and forgiveness

3:44 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we realy need is tolerance, understanding and forgiveness

Ohhh... that is so sweet. For the sake of fairness, be sure to chant this mantra to Muslims when Buddhists in Thailand hit back, the Christians in the Philippines hit back, and the Hindus in India hit back.

8:39 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Not Islam Hater said...

Those poor bastards gonna go to heaven and find 72 virgin cow assholes...

8:58 PM GMT+8  

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