Mumbai gunman goes on TV to justify terror attacks

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Mumbai, Nov.27 : One of the gunmen involved in Wednesday's terrorist blasts in Mumbai has told a television channel that he belonged to an Indian Islamist group that is seeking an end to the persecution of Indian Muslims.

Identifying himself as a member of a group calling itself Deccan Mujahedeen, the gunman, who was holed up in the Oberoi Trident Hotel, called for the release of all fellow Islamic militants detained in India.

Muslims in India should not be persecuted. We love this as our country but when our mothers and sisters were being killed, where was everybody?" he told the India TV channel by phone from inside the hotel, which is surrounded by army commandos.

Up to 100 people were killed and about 100 more wounded in the attacks, Indian media reported.

According to The Age, the luxury Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident hotels and eight other locations across Mumbai, including the train station, a hospital and an up-market restaurant were hit in precisely-timed assaults by small groups of gunmen who lobbed grenades into crowds and opened fire with AK-47s on people as they fled.

The NDTV news channel put the death toll at 100, with 110 injured in the ongoing violence. The IBN Live channel said at least 87 people were dead. The Times of India was reporting up to 900 injured.

Two Australians - Katie Anstee, 24, and her boyfriend David Coker, 23 - were among the injured as they dined at Cafe Leopold, and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told parliament today the number of Australian casualties could rise.

Witnesses said the gunmen had specifically chosen US and British citizens to take hostage, and some foreign tourists are reported to be among the dead, including one Japanese man.

A Briton who was dining at the Oberoi hotel also said the gunmen there singled out Britons and Americans.

ANI

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