After 48 nerve-wracking hours, Mumbai watched as security forces shot down terrorists at the Trident hotel in Nariman Point and the Nariman House in Colaba on Friday evening.
At the time of going to press at midnight, the National Security Guards (NSG) were still reportedly trying to hunt down remaining terrorists at the Taj hotel’s old building.
<b1>This battle, with 155 killed, might be all but over, but it has made evident how India is the new territory for global jihad — and how vulnerable it is.
Union Minister of State for Home Shriprakash Jaiswal said: “This is a work of an international terror group. Among them are some Pakistanis.” Jaiswal said the government had come to this conclusion based on the interrogation of an arrested terrorist.
Official sources said 11 terrorists have so far been killed. The number is likely to go up once the operation at Taj comes to an end.
Government spokesperson Bhushan Gagrani said: “Around 350 people have been rescued from Taj and 138 from Oberoi.”
As security forces overpowered the attackers and cleared both sites, the official death count rose to 155 — 34 bodies were found at the Trident and five hostages were found dead at the Jewish housing complex.
The number of injured is 238. Among the dead: Yes Bank chairman Ashok Kapur and actor Ashish Chaudhary’s sister and her husband at the Trident.
For the first time in a rescue operation in the city, helicopters air-dropped NSG commandos on the Nariman House roof. The building turned into a battleground as the firing and explosions blew apart its walls. The bystanders didn’t make operations any easier. The bodies of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivika were among the five hostages found dead. Two terrorists were killed.
Earlier, at the Trident, the operation ended around 3 pm. “Both terrorists have been killed,” DG of NSG Jyoti Krishan Dutt said. “Two AK-47 rifles, one pistol and Chinese-made grenades were recovered.”
At the Taj, there was firing through the day. Action intensified in the evening and a bystander and a videographer were injured.