More than 80 people were killed during terrorist attack in Mumbai today setting off coordinated multiple blasts and gunfire in a dozen areas across the metropolis including the crowded CST railway station and two five star hotels Oberoi and Taj.
As indiscriminate firing and explosions at iconic landmarks showed no signs of easing since the first attack at Leopold restaurant in Colaba area at about 9.30 PM, Army moved in while 200 NSG commandoes were rushed to Mumbai from Delhi as terrorists did not even spare hospitals like GT and Cama where gunfire was reported. Police and eyewitnesses said AK-47s, rifles and hand grenades were used at will by an unspecified number of terrorists.
The attacks appeared to be aimed at getting international attention as the terrorists took upto 40 British nationals and other foreigners hostage. The chairman of Hindustan Unilever Harish Manwani and CEO of the company Nitin Paranjpe were among the guests trapped at the Oberoi. All the internal board members of the multinational giant were reported to be holed up in the Oberoi hotel. Two terrorists were reported holed up inside the Oberoi Hotel and commando operation was on. An unknown outfit, Deccan Mujahideen, has sent an email to news organizations claiming that it carried out the Mumbai attacks.
St George’s Hospital and G T Hospital were said to have received 75 bodies and more than 250 injured people, additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev said. Bombay Hospital got two bodies and 30 injured people were admitted there; Cooper Hospital, Vile Parle, got three dismembered bodies.
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. Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in July 2007 a series of seven blasts ripped through railway trains and commuter rail stations. At least 187 died in those attacks.