Flames and smoke gush out of the historic historic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on November 27, 2008, one of the sites of attacks by alleged militant gunmen. Up to 100 people were killed and around 100 more wounded in coordinated attacks by gunmen in Mumbai, media reported, with two five-star hotels among the targets of gunmen armed with powerful assault rifles and grenades.
Army personnel take position at the Gateway of India that stands in front of Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. At least 101 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in Mumbai, police said on November 27, 2008.
At least 101 people, including a foreign tourist and a top counter-terror officer, were killed and about 287 injured as terrorists struck in the heart of Mumbai in planned and synchronised attacks.
Terrorists were reported to be holding people hostage in two five-star hotels, the Taj Intercontinental and Trident (formerly Oberoi) facing the waterfront across the Arabian Sea, and the Madam Cama Hostel.
Three top police officials, including Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, were among the nine policemen killed in gunfights with the terrorists, police confirmed.
Among terror targets was the city's busiest railway station, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). "This is a most audacious attack. It is a very serious situation and gun battles are still on in at least three places," said Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Deshmukh confirmed early Thursday morning that terrorists had struck at 10 places.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Ghafoor said the attacks were suspected to be "coordinated terrorist acts", and added that automatic weapons like AK-47 and AK-56 and semi-automatic rifles as well as grenades were apparently used.
Maharashtra government spokesman Bhushan Gagarani confirmed 78 people were killed and 287 injured, many of them grievously.
He said two terrorists were killed in gun battles with police while nine were held.
It appeared that small groups of heavily armed terrorists sneaked into busy public places, mostly in south Mumbai, in the dead of the night spreading panic in the city.
Many of the locations targeted, mostly in upscale south Mumbai, were favourite destinations of foreign tourists, like the Leopold Restaurant in Colaba. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.
Maharashtra Director General of Police A N Roy said: "At least seven places have been attacked. The figure could be eight.
"The terrorists have gone in and fired indiscriminately at certain places. They are still holed up in three places and gun-battles have been on (with security forces)."
Five people were killed in a bomb blast targeting a taxi in Vile Parle. The taxi was blown to pieces, police said.
Photos: AFP and Reuters