ibnlive » India

Nov 28, 2008 at 11:18am IST

Mumbai held to ransom by armed terrorists

New Delhi: More than 36 hours on, the war on Mumbai is still in full flow. The situation has been developing minute by minute. Here's making sense of what's happened so far.

At 21:30 hrs IST on Wednesday night, terrorists entered the 22-storey Taj hotel and took hostages. Mumbai's Anti-Terrorist Squad reached the area and soon a gunbattle began, punctuated with explosions.

Within minutes of the first gun being fired, there was panic across Southern Bombay. Young, heavily armed terrorists were at various locations - from the CST Station to five star hotels to the very popular Leopold Cafe in Colaba. Eyewitness accounts being collated by intelligence agencies suggest that these terrorists made their way into the heart of city in boats.

At 02:00 hrs IST on Thirsday, a fire broke out in Taj hotel's central dome. In the continuing gunbattle, three terrorists were killed by 05:00 hrs IST on Thursday. Some guests were evacuated, but the war was far from over.

Apparently having landed by boat at the nearby Gateway of India, the terrorists split up. They first opened fire at the popular Cafe Leopold before moving to the Taj and Oberoi hotels. A group of terrorists entered the CST Station, fired and lobbed grenades into the crowded. Ten people died in the ensuing mayhem.

The terrorists then moved to the adjacent municipal headquarters and then to Cama hospital, where again they opened fire and lobbed grenades.

The terrorists managed to kill ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, who was supervising operations personally. Along with him were Additional Commissioner of Police, Ashok Kamte and senior police inspector Vijay Salaskar, a crack encounter specialist of the Mumbai Police, both of whom too died in the attack on Cama hospital.

The terrorists then hijacked a police vehicle and drove towards Metro junction, where again they fire into the crowds present there. This group of terrorists were later gunned down by a police team.

While police hunted for the terrorists, the Army, National Security Guard and Naval commandos tried to defuse the hostage situation in the Taj and Oberoi hotels - where some foreigners were being held - and Nariman House through the night.

The Armed Forces have had partial success at the Taj, but the stand off at the Oberoi hotel and Nariman House continues.

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