Bombay attacks: India points the finger at Pakistan
Schoolchildren in Ahmadabad hold candles as they pay tribute to the victims
Jeremy Page in Bombay
Graphic: how terror spread | They came to kill and maim | Survivors' tales | Analysis: Bronwen Maddox | Andreas Liveras shot dead | The specialist in 'encounter killings' | Was al-Qaeda was pulling the strings? | Opinion: Maria Misra | Leading article: Massacre in Bombay
Updated at 00.31 GMT (06.02 Bombay)
India pointed an accusing finger at Pakistan yesterday as commandos fought suspected Islamist terrorists through the corridors of two of Bombay’s top hotels. Dozens of foreigners were still being held hostage or trapped in the buildings.
At least 125 people were killed and 327 wounded in Wednesday’s attacks on some of the city’s most high-profile buildings. Local hospitals and police said that the toll would rise further.
Commandos storm Bombay Jewish centre
24 hours that struck terror into Bombay's heart
Singh has enough worries without religious strife
GRAPHIC: how the terrorists spread fear
Nine foreigners were among the dead, including one Briton, a Japanese businessman, an Australian, a German and an Italian. Andreas Liveras, a 73-year-old British shipping tycoon, was shot dead moments after telling reporters that he was hiding in the basement of the Taj Mahal Palace.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office would not say how many British citizens were injured, trapped or being held hostage at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels. Between 15 and 20 French nationals were inside.
Seven people were rescued from a residential complex that houses a Jewish centre. The Israeli Embassy said that ten of its citizens were being held hostage. A militant inside called a television channel to offer talks with the Government. He complained about rights abuses in Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since 1947.
The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, blamed the multiple attacks on forces “outside the country”, a thinly veiled reference to Pakistan. The Indian Navy boarded a cargo ship that had recently arrived in Bombay from Pakistan. The tension conjured memories of a militant attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, which almost sparked a fourth war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Helicopters buzzed and crowds cheered as commandos moved into the Oberoi, where 20 to 30 people were thought to have been taken hostage and more than 100 were trapped in rooms. Gunshots rang out and flames billowed from a window.
The Taj Mahal hotel was also rocked by explosions and gunfire. Police claimed that only one injured militant remained in the building.
Excerpts from the Telegraph UK.Good that UK media is reporting tyhe truth at last about Pak's diabolic acts of terror against India.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... entre.html
"Later the Hindu newspaper claimed that three of the militants confessed they are members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group. "
More than 24 hours after Islamic extremists launched a series of devastating gun and grenade attacks on Western targets – with a British tycoon among those killed – soldiers were still battling to free more than 200 people either held hostage or hiding in their rooms.
They included Mark Abell, a British lawyer who remained "holed up" in his room and spoke of his fears that the terrorists might "come and get me" if they discovered his exact location.
The authorities blamed militants from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir for the bloodbath, which left 125 dead and at least 327 injured after simultaneous attacks on at least seven targets in Mumbai (formerly Bombay).
Indian officials said the terrorists had “pretended” to be Indians, but that one who was captured appeared to be from Pakistan.
Officials said the death toll was likely to rise once burnt-out rooms in the hotels could be checked for bodies.
Mumbai's central railway station, a hospital, police station, cinema and a Jewish centre - where two large explosions were heard - were among other targets hit by the terrorists, who sailed by boat to the peninsula before fanning out in several dinghies and landing on the shore close to their predetermined targets.
The killers specifically targeted British and American visitors when they attacked the Oberoi and Taj Mahal luxury hotels, ordering receptionists to give them a list of the names and room numbers of all British and US guests and demanding that hostages declared their nationalities.
At least five Britons are being treated in hospital after being injured in the shootings, and many more are feared to be among those still inside the hotels.
As Indian commandos fought their way through the corridors of the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi – both of which had earlier been set on fire by the terrorists – Mr Abell, from London, said he had barricaded his door and was "hunkering down for the long term".
He said: "I'm holed up in my room, with furniture blockading the door. The British consul knows I'm here, and I've been told to sit tight and wait. Whether that will be for an hour, a day, a week, nobody knows."
The British man killed in the attacks was named as Andreas Liveras, 73, who was gunned down moments after he phoned the BBC from inside the Taj Mahal hotel to give an eyewitness account of the terrorist attacks.
Before he was hit, Mr Liveras, who built a £315 million fortune from his eponymous luxury yacht charter business, described how he had just sat down for dinner at the Taj Mahal when the shooting began.
"We heard the machine gunfire outside in the corridor," he said. "We hid ourselves under the table and then they switched all the lights off. But the machine guns kept going, and they took us into the kitchen, and from there into a basement, before we came up into a salon.
"There must be more than a thousand people here. Nobody comes in this room and nobody goes out, and we really don't know. Everybody is just living on their nerves."
The Indian home ministry estimated 20 to 30 people were being held hostage at the Oberoi, while its owners estimated 200 people were inside.
Two retired teachers from Hexham in Northumberland were among those shot in the first of the attacks, in the Café Leopold, at 9.30pm local time (4pm GMT) on Wednesday.
Michael Murphy, 59, was shot in the ribs and is in intensive care after having his spleen removed. His wife Diane, 58, who was shot in the foot, said: "It was mayhem. There were so many casualties. It was carnage. There were obviously people injured and others who were dead."
Mrs Murphy said there were at least 100 people in the café when the shooting began.
"All of a sudden there was automatic gunfire," she said. "The whole place fell apart. It was tremendously loud. My husband and I were hit, as were lots of people. Everybody was down on the ground."
Alan Jones, from South Wales, was staying at the Oberoi Hotel on business when it was attacked. He said: "We took the lift to the lobby and heard bangs as the door opened. Two Japanese men riding with us got out, but immediately signalled for us to go back in the lift.
"As they got back in, a bullet hit one of the Japanese men in the back of the leg. Flesh and blood splattered everywhere.
"I looked up to see one of the gunmen was approaching. I tried to close the door, but the injured guy's leg was preventing it from closing.
"I frantically pressed the 'close door' button, but had to move the shot man's foot for the door to close."
Mr Jones escaped after being guided by staff to a basement via another lift.
Hugh Brown, who was staying at the Taj Mahal, took refuge in a library area with a large group of people, one of whom later turned out to be a terrorist.
He told Sky News: "We were let out at one point at about 2.30am. There was a gunman who had been in among us in the room for the best part of the evening. He pretended to be one of us in the room.
"When he got out with us, he started shooting some of the people as they were leaving the room."
One of the terrorists was quoted on Indian TV saying the purpose of the hostage-taking was to secure the release of all "mujahideen" held in Indian prisons.
The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said the attacks were "well planned and well-orchestrated... intended to create a sense of panic by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners".
David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, said yesterday that the attacks bore some hallmarks of al-Qaeda but it was too early to say if the network was behind the deadly assaults.
“It is very premature to start talking about links to Al-Qaeda,” he said. “Some of the names of groups that are being circulated at the moment are not al-Qaeda affiliates, but that cannot be taken as a definitive view.”