Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gunmen kill at least 78 in 7 attacks in Mumbai

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 Thursday. The gunmen were specifically targeting Britons and Americans and a top police official said the gunmen are holding hostages at two luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels.

Several people have been killed in a series of coordinated attacks targeting Mumbai sites popular with tourists and business people, according to police and CNN's sister network in India.

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.

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.

India has been wracked by deadly bomb attacks in recent years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Since October 2005, nearly 700 people have died in the bombings. And since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen had taken credit for a string of blasts that have killed more than 130.

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 which had swept India.

Prakash's Graphic Signature

No comments: