Army commandos laid siege Thursday to two luxury hotels in Mumbai where gunmen held foreign guests hostage as part of coordinated attacks across India's financial capital that left up to 100 dead. Three Turkish nationals are among those being held in the hotels. (UPDATED)
Small groups of militants armed with automatic weapons and grenades burst into two luxury hotels, a hospital and a railway station late on Wednesday, as well as a famous cafe popular with foreign tourists, firing indiscriminately and tossing grenades.
Maharashtra state police Chief A.N. Roy told Reuters on Thursday that the hostage situation at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai had ended, but that there were still apparently hostages being held at the Trident/Oberoi.
Roy said some people were still apparently being held hostage at the Trident/Oberoi Hotel, including three Turkish people, couple Meltem and Seyfi Muezzinoglu and an unidentified woman.
An Islamist group calling itself the "Deccan Mujahedeen" said it carried out the attacks late Wednesday in which at least 101 people were killed, including six foreigners, reports said. Another 287 people, including 11 confirmed foreigners, were wounded in the attacks.
Five or six other Turkish nationals escaped from the hotels, Anatolian Agency quoted Levent Bilman, Turkey's ambassador to India, as saying.
"There were eight or nine Turkish citizens in the hotel, but most of them saved themselves and are now in a safe area in Mumbai," Bilman told the agency.
"But three of our citizens -- a couple and a woman -- are still confined in the hotel. They have locked themselves in their rooms," Bilman said.
"We do not know what is happening inside the hotel...We hope the situation ends soon," he added.
One of the gunmen holed up in the Trident told the India TV channel by phone that the little-known terror outfit wanted an end to the persecution of Indian Muslims and the release of all fellow Islamic militants detained in India.
"Muslims in India should not be persecuted. We love this as our country but when our mothers and sisters were being killed, where was everybody?" he said from inside the hotel, which was surrounded by army commandos.
Witnesses said the gunmen had specifically chosen U.S. and British citizens to take hostage, AFP reported.
SIEGE IN A JEWISH CENTER
Another siege was in progress at Nariman House, an office building that houses a Jewish center.
The chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, Jonathan Solomon, said a rabbi and his family were being held inside by gunmen.
The main Bombay Stock Exchange, itself hit by a terror attack in 1993, was also closed, as were shops, schools and businesses.
An official told AFP that the England cricket team had also decided to abandon their tour of India and return home following the attacks.
India has witnessed a wave of coordinated attacks in recent months.
A little-known Islamic group, the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen, claimed responsibility for serial blasts last month in India’s northeast state of Assam that claimed nearly 80 lives.
Six weeks earlier, the capital New Delhi had been hit by a series of bombs in crowded markets that left more than 20 dead. Responsibility for those blasts were claimed by a group calling itself the Indian Mujahedeen.