VOA Correspondent Steve Herman special to BosNewsLife
MUMBAI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Indian military commandos attempted to neutralize remaining terrorists at three locations in Mumbai Friday, Nobember 28, and free remaining hostages and hotel guests there. About 120 people have been killed and more than 300 injured in shootings, explosions and fires since the attacks began late Wednesday, November 27.
Authorities said at least seven suspected terrorists were killed and several more detained. Speaking to reporters outside the besieged Taj Palace Hotel, Army vice chief Major General Noble Thamburaj said the final push to free hostages and guests at three locations in Mumbai would not be rushed.
“I have specially told the commandos taking part not to be under any pressure from the media or the citizens because at this stage, when we are at the final stages of operations before we can wrap it up, we don’t want to be in a hurry [and] suffer any casualties,” Thamburaj said.
He said least one terrorist who is possibly still holding two or more hostages remained inside the Taj. Meanwhile, commandos continued to free guests at the Trident Oberoi. At that luxury hotel an unknown number of foreign hostages were still believed held by heavily armed insurgents. Some guests were freed from their rooms by commandos after more than 36 hours.
After dawn Friday, November 28, two helicopters also dropped commandos onto the roof of a Jewish center at Nariman House, another site which was attacked. Diplomats said several foreign hostages may still be held there.
Although the attackers also hit railway stations, hospitals and a restaurant, the most deadly dramas took place at the two luxury hotels and the expatriate Jewish community center. The violence has underscored concerns over growing tensions between militants and people of other religions, including Jews and Christians, who experienced attacks in churches and homes in several parts of India in recent months.
Gunfire, explosions and fires erupted repeatedly since Wednesday, Novemer 27, at the hotels.
India’s science minister, Kapil Sibal, speaking on television, said it is obvious that the coordinated attacks were well planned and people were not targeted at random.
“They set up control rooms in the Taj and the Trident Oberoi [hotels]. And they were actually managing the operations right from there,” Sibal added. “So, obviously… it’s been planned over months.”
A previously unknown group called Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Some officials and politicians contend the attackers, who they say were well-trained and well-armed, came from Pakistan by sea.
Residents of Mumbai are well acquainted with terror mayhem. Several hundred people died in serial bombings in 1993 stemming from Hindu-Muslim violence.
In July 2006, attacks on suburban commuter trains killed 187 people and injured 800. But this latest assault has been described as the most serious in Indian history, striking landmarks and targeting not only Indians of all classes but foreign visitors, as well. (This story also airs on BosNewsLife’s affiliate network, the Voice of America (VOA). NEWS WATCH and TERROR WATCH are a regular look at dramatic news developments impacting the Church and/or Compassionate Professionals).