Security forces to wrap up operations by this afternoon: Thamburaj

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Mumbai, Nov 28 (UNI) The combing operation against terrorists, responsible for the mayhem in the posh areas of south Mumbai, is in its final stage and might be wrapped up by this afternoon, said Lieutenant General M Thamburaj here today.

The militants besieged the century-old Taj Mahal Palace, Trident hotel and the Nariman House since Wednesday night.

Adressing newspersons outside the Taj Mahal Palace, the top army commander said the operation was in its final stage and the security forces would soon flush out the terrorists by this afternoon.

He also said that precautions were being taken so that the innocent people, who were taken hostage by the militants, are not hurt.

''Almost all the guests and staff have been evacuated but we suspect some are still trapped,'' the general officer commanding-in-chief of the Southern Command added.

Lt Gen Thamburaj is coordinating the Indian Army's operations with the National Security Guard (NSG) and the Mumbai police.

He has informed that some of the NSG commandos have sustained injuries in the gunbattle, further confirming that two of the terrorists have been killed in an encounter at the Taj Mahal last night and one was still inside the hotel.

About 15 NSG commandos air dropped on the terrace of Nariman House this morning. According to sources some of the militants were staying in the area since last few months, however, their activities were never suspected.

The combined forces including NSG, Army, Naval and local police have cordoned off the area, as the operation has been intensified at Nariman House, the Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace.

UNI ST PP SLD BST1339

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