New Delhi: The National Security Guard (NSG) and the Marine Commandos early on Friday rescued 100 guests from The Trident Hotel (formerly known as Oberoi), 36 hours after they were taken hostage by terrorists believed to be affiliated to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Terrorists had conducted thorough reconnaissance preparations over the last two months. They had knowledge of each and every exit point of the hotels, NSG sources told CNN-IBN.
A heavy exchange of fire between the security personnel and the terrorists was reported soon after the rescue. One terrorist was reportedly killed in the crossfire.
An NSG official said at least six hostages were feared dead.
“Terrorists don’t want to listen to anything. They are not ready to surrender. They are threatening to kill all the hostages,” he said.
Addressing the media outside the Oberoi Hotel, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said, "Commandos have done a good job. The rescue peration at Oberoi Hotel is likely to be over
in one hour. Our NSG team and police carried out the operation without the aid of any foreign agency."
Reacting to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's comments, Dehmukh said, "Nobody should try and gain political mileage."
"It is not an attack on Mumbai but the whole nation," he added.
The rescued hostages, many of who are foreign nationals, were swiftly escorted to a private bus, as anxious relatives and family members present outside the hotel heaved a sigh of relief.
“I was on the twentieth floor of the hotel. I could see smoke and hear gun shots,” Sudipto Sarkar, a hostage rescued from Oberoi Trident, said. “We could not communicate with anybody. All the TVs were switched off.”
A spokesperson for Italian Embassy told CNN-IBN, "All our people, whom we are aware of, have been rescued.So far a total of six italians have been rescued from Trident (Oberoi), including one baby. The baby's father went out and then went back in to get his daughter and wife."
"All European countries are coordinating efforts under the leadership of France. Many European citizens have lost their important documents such as passports. Efforts are being made to get them out of the country as soon as possible. Some of them have already left," he added.
Police had to resort to lathi charge to bring the crowd of curious onlookers under control.
The National Security Guard and the Marine Commandos are into the final assault against terrorists at the Oberoi hotel. The assault team has sanitised parts of the Oberoi Trident.
Another NSG official informed CNN-IBN that room intervention operation was underway at the Oberoi, where two more floors are yet to be sanitised.
“A room intervention drill entry is made in every room, following which we check each and every thing without any collateral damage. It takes about four to five minutes,” he explained.
"Final assault is yet to happen," he added.
Meanwhile, Army sources claim that the terrorists were provided commando training by Pakistan Army. They also suggested that the terrorists were provided boats and other logistical support by the Mumbai underworld.
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