Some fighting continues in Mumbai

Washington Post:

Indian police commandos took control of the Oberoi Hotel and were rooting out a small number of armed attackers at the Taj Mahaj Palace & Tower Hotel early Friday evening, while a huge explosion at a nearby Jewish outreach center indicated that efforts to rescue at least eight hostages there were still underway.

All day, scores of hostages were evacuated from the two five-star hotels, some in tourist coach buses. Police said they had defeated the militants at the Oberoi and evacuated everyone from inside, while gun battles and hostage rescues were continuing inside the Taj. In the narrow streets surrounding the Chabad-Lubavitch organization's Nariman House, a dramatic rooftop rescue effort continued along with gun battles in the street. Blue-uniformed special forces wearing sunglasses slid down ropes from Army helicopters and the sounds of gunfire echoed block to block. At least 8 people, including a rabbi and his wife who had dual American-Israeli citizenship and were raised in Brooklyn, were unaccounted for inside the five-story Nariman House. A todder, reportedly the son of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, escaped the building Thursday, along with two employees.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Ghafoor said police teams had found 30 dead bodies inside the hotels by midday Friday, increasing the death toll from Wednesday's brazen attacks to at least 145. More than 200 hostages had been rescued, he said. Two journalists were hurt, either from flying schrapnel or a passing bullet.

Gun battles were intensifying at the Taj hotel Friday, with police forces apparently still battling the armed gunmen who had launch the attacks. Six hostages emerged from the back of the hotel as forces launched a series of raids. Once-plush hotel rooms were filled with burned out debris and shrapnel chunks fell from hotel windows on journalists who were gathered nearby.

Intelligence officials said the gunmen who launched the coordinated attacks on the hotels, Jewish center and a train station appeared well-trained and well-prepared, familiar with the layouts of the targets in a way that gave them a great advantage over police. India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the assailants appeared to be based "outside the country."

For the first time since the attacks occurred, top Indian government officials pointed the finger directly at Pakistan, with foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee saying: "Based on preliminary information, and prima facie evidence we have, that elements of Pakistan are linked to this."

Pakistan Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi then warned: "Do not be jingoist. Understand the sentiment behind it. Understand that there are innocent people involved," he said. "Do not play politics into this issue. This is a collective issue, we are facing a common enemy, and we have to join hands to defeat this enemy."


The Pakistan Foreign mister gets its right on the common enemy front anyway. Pakistan needs to be more proactive and less defensive on this point. It needs to make clear that it will go after those in Pakistan who are responsible for the attacks. Other post have discussed evidence of Pakistan involvement including the testimony of a captured terrorist as well as evidence from the ship that was used to transport the terrorist from Karachi apparently.

The Jerusalem Post reports at least two deaths at the Jewish center in Mumbai, but Fox News is reporting that there were no survivors at the Jewish center after it had been cleared by commandos. Debka says at least five were found dead in the Jewish center. Haaretz also uses the five deathas and has a video report from Mumbai too.


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