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Horror in the heritage wing

india Updated: Nov 29, 2008 02:11 IST
Highlight Story

The gunbattle at the landmark Taj hotel continued for the second day as the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos tried to pin down terrorists using hostages for cover.

Six persons, including two US citizens, Nationalist Congress Party Member of Parliament (MP) Jaisingrao Gaikwad-Patil and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Lalmani Chaube, were rescued on Friday. Four bodies were taken out but there was no information on their identities.

Security forces and the terrorists were engaged in intermittent exchange of fire through the day. The action was mostly concentrated in the Gateway-facing area of the hotel.

Grenades were lobbed at regular intervals. A bystander, identified only as Dilip, and a videographer with news agency AFP received shrapnel injuries.

British food entrepreneur of Indian origin Ghulam Noon was rescued from the hotel on Thursday morning. “As a Mumbaiite I feel sad about what is happening,” said Noon. “If they don’t have any demands why kill innocents ?”

The day was tense for all those conducting and witnessing the operations at the Taj. At one point, forces spotted a suspicious bag and sniffer dogs were called in.

Earlier, General Commanding Officer in Chief N. Thamburaj said it seemed like terrorists had taken a family hostage and were using them as cover. “We don’t want to do anything hasty. We are moving slow but steady.”

The Marine Commando (MARCOS), who led the contingent that entered the Taj, said militants lobbed grenades and disappeared. “The militants were very familiar with the layout of the hotel. And knew precisely, the entry and exit points,” he said. The MARCOS team leader said they had seen at least 12 to 15 bodies and many others seriously injured within the first two floors of hotel Taj.

The MARCOS who were the first to fight the militants at Hotel Taj on Wednesday midnight recovered a rucksack with dry fruits, seven filled magazines of AK-47, 400 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese-made grenades, seven credit cards and a national ID card of Mauritius government. The seven credit cards were procured with the same Malaysian address.

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