Thursday, November 27, 2008

MASSACRE in Mumbai: Amit Varma was there. I'm glad he's ok.

More than 100 people still held hostage.

More witnesses reports @ CNN.

Map of where the attack took place (Guardian)

Big roundup on how the new and the old media were covering, @ The Moderate Voice.

Live streaming @ CNN-IBN.


4:02 am EST: Death toll as of now: 101 dead, 287 injured.

4:16 am EST: Who's behing the attacks, and why? (Reuters)

4:22 am EST: New explosion heard at the Oberoi hotel, surrounded by commando forces. (Sky)

4:25 am EST: Casualties among foreigners (Telegraph):
Hundreds of tourists were held hostage in two luxury hotels in the city. Local reports said among the dead foreigners were a British national, a 41-year-old Japanese man and a 49-year-old Australian.

Among the wounded are travellers from Australia, the United States, Spain, Norway, Canada and Singapore. Seven British citizens have been injured.
4:31 am EST: Situation apparently ended at the Taj Mahal hotel (BBC):
Police chief AN Roy is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying hostages at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel have now been rescued, although there are still an unknown number of guests in the rooms.

Witnesses outside the Taj Mahal said civilians could be seen running from the hotel, some with suitcases. Ambulances were also reported to be arriving.
4:35 am EST: 'Free our Mujahideen,' terrorists demand (Times UK):
The gunmen holding dozens of hostages in two of Bombay's luxury hotels are demanding the release of 'Muhajideens' held in Indian jails before they free their prisoners.
4:51 am EST: al-Qaeda link disputed (NYT):
Global terrorism experts with experience in South Asia said that, based on the tactics used in the attacks, the group was probably not linked to Al Qaeda.

“It’s even unclear whether it’s a real group or not,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the author of the book “Inside Terrorism.”

“It could be a cover name for another group, or a name adopted just for this particular incident,” he said.
5:13 am EST: Who are the Deccan Mujahideen? (CNN)
Both the intelligence community in India and the United States think the Deccan Mujahideen may be affiliated with one of two organizations that have carried out attacks in India in the past: the Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.
5:45 am EST: Domestic Indian terrorism with a global twist (Guardian):
While terrorism is common in India, the Mumbai attacks suggest a group with outside influences – and careful planning.
6:03 am EST: Standoff battles on, even at the Taj Mahal hotel (NDTV):
Despite Maharashtra Police's claims that there is no hostage-like situation at Taj, reports say fresh explosions have been heard at the Taj hotel and there are around 40-50 people still trapped inside the hotel.

Around 10-12 terrorists are still holed up in Trident hotel and have taken many hostage. Some of them are Israeli and Canadian nationals.
6:18 am EST: Uh oh -- Pakistan connection? (AP)
The Indian navy says its forces are boarding a cargo vessel suspected of ties to the Mumbai attacks that killed 101 people.

Navy spokesman Capt. Manohar Nambiar said Thursday that the ship, the MV Alpha, had recently come to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan.
6:44 am EST: Big roundup of blog reaction from the Middle East @ Global Voices.

6:56 am EST: PM hints (Reuters):
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the attacks in Mumbai which killed more than 100 people were well-planned and probably had "external linkages".
7:07 am EST: Situation still raging on (CNN):
A standoff continued at the Oberoi Hotel, where about 100 members of a specialized unit of the Indian police undertook an operation to rescue four to five foreigners hostage on the 19th floor.
7:23 am EST: Battle at the Orthodox Jewish HQ (UPI):
Police were surrounding Nariman House, the headquarters of the Orthodox Jewish group, Chabad Lubavitch. Gunmen had seized the facility late Wednesday night. Officials were uncertain how many hostages, if any, were inside.
7:34 am EST: Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holzberg allegedly one of the hostages; childen free (The Moderate Voice)

7:46 am EST: 80 people still held hostage. (Telegraph)

8:07 am EST: Status of Mumbai Jewish Center Still Unclear (NYT):
Early local television news reports said that [Rabbi Gavriel] and his wife were unconscious in the building, but that has not been confirmed by the group or by Indian officials. The Rabbi’s son and his nanny have been evacuated. Vartika Sethi, spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, said early Thursday afternoon that the embassy was still “trying to gather information” and did not have a “clear picture” of what is happening.
8:32 am EST: Blasts heard accross Mumbai (Telegraph):
Witnesses in the Indian financial capital said a fresh round of firing was heard as commandos prepared to storm the Trident-Oberoi, a luxury hotel where as many as 200 people are believed to be trapped.

Police earlier said all of the foreign hostages had been freed from another five-star hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, but AN Roy, the police chief of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said as many as 100 guests remained trapped inside their rooms.

Witnesses also reported continuing explosions and gunfire at the landmark hotel as a trickle of bodies and hostages were seen emerging from the building.
08:47 am EST: Decissive assault launched (Zee News):
More than 50 commandoes have entered the Taj, even as people continue to be evacuated from the Oberoi hotel.

Fresh reports coming in from the Taj hotel indicate that wife and two kids of the General Manager of the Taj hotel have been killed in the crossfiring.

It is not clear how many survivors are still held hostage in the premises. There are reports that some guests are still trapped in their rooms but are not stepping out in fear. With this shocking news of the carnage at the Taj, the final toll of those killed will way surpass the current reported at 101. Another 300 are injured.

Around 400 people have been evacuated from the Taj hotel, and 78 have been evacuated from the Oberoi.

The action so far has left 6 foreigners, 14 police personnel and 5 terrorists dead. Two terrorists have been apprehended so far, with one being identified as Abu Ismail from Faridkot, Pakistan.

In the meantime, commandos are readying for a final assault to put the entire siege to an end. Sound of a series of explosions is being heard intermittently for the past hour.

Also, five loud explosions have been heard from the Oberoi Hotel, even as the NSG engages holed up terrorists.

Similarly at the Nariman House in Colaba, many people are feared to be taken as hostages. This is a place that is mostly frequented and used by Israelis and Jews. An special NSG team specialised in the managing hostage crisis, has moved to Nariman house with rocket launchers and bazookas to flush out the terrorists still holed inside and to free trapped Israeli hostages.
08:51 am EST: External link unlikely, attack most probably by homegrown group (Jason Burke @ Guardian)

09:23 am EST: Death toll jumps to 125, including at least 6 foreigners; 327 were wounded. (CNN)

09:47 am EST: Bollywood shaken. (Mangalorean)

09:51 am EST: Gunfight (Fox News):
Commando teams are engaged in a gunfight with terrorists on the eight floor of the Oberoi-Trident. The battle broke out as commandos were conducting room-to-room searches.

NDTV reports gunfire and explosions at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident hotels, and the release of some hostages.

Bodies reportedly are being removed from the hotels, and among them are an Australian, Japanese and British nationals.

A senior State Department official told FOX News that it could not yet confirm any American casualties.

Meanwhile, Indian police reportedly are negotiating with gunmen holding hostages at the ultra-orthodox Jewish Chabad Lubavitch Center.

There were unconfirmed reports that some of the hostages at the Oberoi Trident hotel are Israeli nationals.
09:57 am EST: Cheering as the 7th Cavalry arrives (Reuters):
Helicopters buzzed overhead and crowds cheered as the commandos, their faces blackened, moved into the Trident-Oberoi, where 20 to 30 people are thought to have been taken hostage and more than 100 others were trapped in their rooms.
10:51 am EST: Crisis not yet over (CNN):
Shortly after authorities said the siege had ended at the Taj Mahal hotel, two explosions were heard, similar to the six blasts heard earlier. It was not immediately clear what caused any of the explosions. Witnesses said continuous gunfire could be heard at the hotel. . . . A few blocks away, at the Hotel Oberoi, a major fire raged Thursday night through one floor there, CNN's sister network in India . . . . British authorities told CNN that at least three or four terrorists are holding hostages in both the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels.
11:15 am EST: Indian commandos raid hotels (AP):
About 10 to 12 gunmen remain holed up inside the hotels and a Jewish center, a top Indian general said. The remaining gunmen appeared to have been killed or captured, Maj. Gen. R.K. Huda told New Delhi Television. . . . Officials said eight militants were also killed.

Dozens of people were being held hostage at the hotels, as well as a nearby Jewish center, by the well-trained and heavily armed gunmen, authorities said.
11:26 am EST: All terrorists at Taj Mahal hotel killed (CNN-IBN):
The National Security Guard has declared an all-clear at the Taj Mahal hotel where a fierce gunbattle was on between the forces and terrorists for the past 20 hours.

The NSG says all terrorists at Taj have been killed that it will comb the premises very carefully.

Earlier, a huge explosion was heard from inside the hotel.
11:30 am EST: Flames shooting off the Oberoi hotel (EuroNews):
It is feared up to 100 people may be trapped or taken hostage inside a luxury Indian hotel following an attack by Islamic militants.
11:45 am EST: Bush speaks with Indian PM Singh. (Fox News)

12:24 pm EST: Pakistan denies any involvement (Press Trust of India)

12:51 pm EST: State Department confirms 3 Americans wounded; US government has no information that any U.S. citizens died in the attacks. (Fox News)

1:46 pm EST: Standoffs at both the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal are nearing to an end, CNN International reports in their live broadcast (no link yet)

NOTE: Situation is still fluid, but I have to stop this for today, since I have a commitment. After all, the point was to update through the night in the US, so that readers could be up to speed on what happened when they logged in the morning. Now there's many websites and blogs keeping up on what's happening. So thanks the many readers for stopping by (and thanks Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, John Hinderacker of Power Line, Eric Scheie of Classical Values and Michael Ledeen of The Corner for linking) Please come back tomorrow morning and check the home page to read whatever happens overnight as well, if the crisis continues...

UPDATE (Friday Nov. 28): Roundup continues here...