80 feared dead in Mumbai, India attacks
MUMBAI, India–Heavy machine guns, AK-47s, and grenades erupted across Mumbai, India, killing more than 80 people and injuring at least 200, officials said Thursday.
Heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks. Police said the terrorists targeted British and American tourists.
“I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports,” Rakesh Patel told Times Online. He is a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel on business. “They had bombs.”
As many as 20 Westerners were taken hostage as suspected Islamic terrorists mounted a series of coordinated attacks on India’s financial capital.
Another British guest at the Taj Palace told The Telegraph, “They were very young, like boys really, wearing jeans and T-shirts,” “They said they wanted anyone with British and American passports and then they took us up the stairs. I think they wanted to take us to the roof.” He said that he had managed to escape when they reached the 18th floor.
The federal government had dispatched 200 National Security Guard commandos from capital Delhi to help Maharashtra police. The NSG are specially trained for hostage operations.
The U.S. State Department said it wasn’t aware of any American fatalities in the assaults “at this point.”
“We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Mumbai, India,” said Robert Wood, a spokesman for the department. “We are monitoring the situation very closely and stand ready to support the Indian authorities as they deal with this horrific series of attacks.”