60 killed, 200 injured in attacks at tourist hotspots in Mumbai
27/11/2008 6:53:00 AM. | AFPInjured man lies on baggage trolley in Mumbai | AAP
About 60 bodies and more than 200 injured people have been brought to a hospital in Mumbai after a series of shootings and blasts across India's financial capital, the Press Trust of India says.
Gunmen armed with powerful assault rifles and grenades launched the attacks late on Wednesday, with five-star hotels among the targets, police said.
Maharashtra state police chief AN Roy told the NDTV channel that "unknown terrorists" had opened fire in "at least seven to eight places" across the city.
The Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted a senior police officer as saying that 10 people were killed and more than 30 people injured in one attack on Mumbai's main Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station.
Three staff were shot dead in a separate shooting incident at the luxury Taj Mahal hotel in nearby Colaba district, while three more died in what police called a "bomb blast" in a taxi in the southeast of the city.
Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner AK Sharma was quoted as saying that several men armed with AK-47 rifles had stormed into the passenger hall of the railway station shortly after 10.30pm (0400 AEDT) and opened fire and thrown grenades.
Firing was also reported at Cama Hospital in south Mumbai, while the lobby of another five-star hotel, the Trident, formerly the Oberoi, was on fire, witnesses said.
There was another shooting incident outside the Leopold Restaurant, police said. The popular haunt in Colaba is a magnet for foreign tourists in part due to its role in the best-selling book Shantaram by Australian author Gregory David Roberts.
One television report put the death toll as high as 25. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the attacks and said the Maharashtra state government would get all the assistance required.
"Some of these terrorists are still holed up inside the Taj hotel," Roy said.
The Taj, next to the British colonial-era Gateway of India monument, is one of the world's leading hotels and regularly attracts VIP visitors.
The head of the Madrid regional government, Esperanza Aguirre, was staying there at the time but she and her delegation escaped unhurt, a government spokesman in Madrid told AFP.
Mumbai had been the start of a four-day official visit to India.
The BBC News website said that British member of the European Parliament, Sajjad Karim, was also in the hotel at the time and saw a gunman open fire in the lobby.
"All I saw was one man on foot carrying a machine gun-type of weapon - which I then saw him firing from and I saw people hitting the floor, people right next to me," he was quoted as saying.
One British guest told local Indian television that he had been among a dozen people herded together by two heavily armed men and taken up to the hotel's upper floors.
"They were very young, like boys really, wearing jeans and T-shirts," the guest said.
"They said they wanted anyone with British and American passports and then they took us up the stairs. I think they wanted to take us to the roof," he said, adding that he and another hostage had managed to escape when they reached the 18th floor.
As he was speaking, there was a loud explosion from the roof of the hotel.
India has witnessed a series of coordinated attacks in recent months.
A little-known Islamic group, the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen, claimed responsibility for serial blasts last month in India's north-east state of Assam that claimed nearly 80 lives.
A total of 12 explosions shook the insurgency-hit northeastern state, six of them ripping through crowded areas in the main city of Guwahati.
Six weeks earlier, the capital New Delhi had been hit by a series of bombs in crowded markets that left more than 20 dead. Those blasts were claimed by a group calling itself the Indian Mujahedeen.http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2008/11/27/Gunmen_target_tourists_hotspots_in_Mumbai_16_killed