India under Siege

November 27, 2008 1:38:33 PM PST
The Indian city of Mumbai is still in chaos as a terrorist siege has moved into its second day.Teams of gunmen killed at least 100 and wounded hundreds more. That toll is certain to go higher as terrorists holding hostages continue to shoot it out with Indian authorities. Three Americans have been reported among the wounded.

Southern Mumbai has become a war zone. A city usually packed with foreigners and the wealthy, now, paralyzed by fear. On Wednesday night in a highly coordinated attack, teams of young militants armed with assault weapons and grenades simultaneously struck luxury hotels and upscale restaurants throughout the city.

The most high-profile targets were the landmark Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi Hotels.

Bob Carnell, Managing Director of Kerry Foods said, "There were then 5 or 6 explosions across the night. We were told to 'stay in your rooms.' There were a couple of people who I saw shot dead on the other side of the hotel."

As the Taj Hotel burned, Elite Indian Commandos fought room-to-room battles with the terrorists, to save scores of people trapped or taken hostage.

Alex Chamberlain, British hotel hostage survivor said, "The gunmen told everyone to put their hands up and said, 'Where are you from? Are you British or American? Show us your id.'"

Police said the gunmen probably came from across the border, in Pakistan. India's prime minister blamed outsiders.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing. Police evacuated some from the Oberoi hotel, one of three buildings where gunmen are still holding hostages. But there are dozens still trapped. This is a city that is still paralyzed by fear.

Despite reports that westerners are targeted in a series of deadly attacks in India, the Bush Administration said it's unaware of any U.S. casualties. White House Spokeswoman, Dana Perino said the Bush Administration is monitoring the situation and the President is being updated.

The State Department has set up a call center for Americans concerned about family members who might be in Mumbai.

The State Dept. Call Center number is 1-888-407-4747

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