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Indian security forces have surrounded two hotels in Mumbai, the Trident Oberoi and the Taj Mahal Palace, which were taken over by gunmen who launched co-ordinated attacks in the city on Wednesday that have so far left more than 100 people dead. A group of hostages leaves the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, but gunmen are still thought to be at large at other sites after violence killed at least 101 people.
Below is a series of attack updates unfolded by BBC as the terror attacks in Mumbai became terrible. Events are followed by GMT periods. Original Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7752003.stm
1029 Maj Gen RK Hooda, commander of the army in Maharashtra state, tells local TV channels that members of the National Security Guard are doing a room-by-room search of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. He says: “They started from the top floor and have come down to the 21st floor. There are 365 rooms to be searched… We don’t know about the number of hostages. We know there are four to five terrorists.”
1025 The CNN-ibn television channel reports from one of Mumbai’s railway stations that there are very few people out and about. One commuter said his train was virtually empty.
1015 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says that the Chinese government strongly condemns the attacks in Mumbai. “China always opposes terrorist attacks of any kind, and we express our condolences to the victims,” he says.
1008 India’s Times Now television channel reports a loud explosion outside the Oberoi hotel – the sixth in the last 35 minutes, it says.
1006 BBC Correspondent Mark Dummet says: Police seem to be taking a softly-softly approach, rather than charging in to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. That explains why it has taken so long to get through the hotel and why they have not cleared every corner.
1004: Jake Betts, a British lawyer who lives and works close to the Oberoi Hotel tells BBC World that the large number of foreigners working in Mumbai feel targeted. “At the moment we’re just sitting tight in our flat, trying to stay safe because we’re very close to everything. But when this all is over… we’re definitely going to have to re-appraise [our situation],” he says.
1000 The director-general of the UK’s Federation of Tour Operators says the “handful” of British nationals who had booked a holiday in Mumbai through its members had been accounted for and were safe.
0958 The Champions Twenty20 League cricket tournament has been postponed in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, organisers say.
0955 India’s NDTV is broadcasting live pictures of commandos taking position outside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Gunshots can be heard.
0950 India’s Times Now television channel reports that at least five explosions have been heard at the Oberoi hotel in quick succession in the past few minutes. It also says Indian navy helicopters, assisted by the coast guard, are chasing a trawler in the Arabian Sea that is believed to have transported the gunmen to Mumbai.
0943 BBC Correspondent Mark Dummet, speaking outside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, says: There have been two further explosions at the hotel, followed by a round of gunfire. Clearly the situation remains uncertain and remains dangerous.
0938 British MEP Sajjad Karim says he listened as security forces fought gunmen “floor by floor and room by room” in an attempt to gain control of the Taj Mahal hotel overnight. Mr Karim, who was among a group who barricaded themselves in a basement, tells the Press Association he left the hotel at 0500 local time.
0936 Bachi Karkaria, of the Times of India, tells the BBC that Mumbai has been “terribly shaken” by the attacks. “No-one is safe and nothing can be taken for granted,” she says.
0930 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expresses concern about the attacks in Mumbai. He says: “We are deeply concerned by these developments, deeply concerned by the potential impact on Indian citizens and other citizens, and we will have further to say about this during the course of the day.”
0924 Security expert Rahul Roy Chaudhury, from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, tells the BBC that it could be some time before the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is given the all-clear. He says: “The security services will have to go from room-to-room to make sure the hotel is entirely free of terrorists,” adding the gunmen could try to slip out among Indian nationals who had been taken hostage.
0920 BBC Correspondent Mark Dummet, speaking outside the main entrance of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, says: I have seen armed soldiers leading out a dozen or so of the guests, one of the men being carried by a soldier to a series of ambulances which are lined up here. It would seem as if the siege here at the Taj Hotel is over.