Explosions, firing continue at Taj hotel

Other News Materials 28 November 2008 19:18 (UTC +04:00)

A fire has broken out at Taj hotel again where NSG operations are in full swing, reported The Times of India.

A short while ago, fresh explosions were heard at Taj hotel. A gunbattle is believed to have resumed between commandos and a sole terrorist still holed up inside Taj hotel. Six more hostages have been rescued from the hotel. They were escorted out of the back entrance of the hotel.

Earlier, marine commandos recovered 30 bodies from the Taj hotel and have said that around 200 people were held hostage at one of the halls of the hotel.

Commandos told reporters that terrorists were well aware of the Taj's layout and they were carrying AK series rifle. They recovered 1200$ and Rs 6000 from the assailants.

Marine commandos also handed over a Mauritian national identity-card and a number of credit cards recovered from the militants inside the Taj hotel.

Earlier, a gunbattle between NSG commandos and a militant holed up inside the Taj hotel raged up.

An explosion was also heard at the ground floor of the old building of the hotel.

Earlier, Indian Army commander confirmed that at least one militant continues to battle Indian commandos in the Taj Hotel in Mumbai and may be holding two or more hostages.

"Almost all the guests in the hotel and the staff in the hotel have been evacuated," Lieutenant-General N. Thamburaj told reporters.

He told reporters that almost all guests and staff had been evacuated from the Taj and the operation would be wrapped up there in a few hours. "It is just a matter of few hours before "we wrap up things" says GoC, Southern Command.

The new building of Taj hotel has been totally flushed out and cleared and handed over to police, he said adding that one terrorist, possibly two, had moved into the adjacent old heritage building.

"We have heard the sound of a woman and a man, giving indications that they are being held hostage," Thamburaj said but added that almost all guests and staff in the hotel have been evacuated.

He conceded that the there were some casualties among the NSG commandos but would not disclose their numbers and whether they were fatal or otherwise saying that operational details would affect the "mental makeup" of terrorists.

Thamburaj said that operations had to be "deliberate and slow" to ensure the safety of the hostages, guests and hotel staff. The commandos had been told not to rush things under the "pressure of media or citizens".

He said some rooms in Taj are still bolted from inside and people inside are not responding, probably they are scared. "As soon as communication and room services are restored, we will inform them about the situation and ask them to come out".