Terrorists flushed out of Trident, Nariman House; toll reaches 125

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Mumbai, Nov 28 (UNI) After battling ceaselessly for nearly 48 hours, the security forces finally succeeded in flushing out the terrorists holed up inside luxury hotel Trident Oberoi and Nariman House here today, but a pitched battle raged at the Taj Mahal hotel after a wave of shootings and explosions there in the last two days killed at least 125 and injured 318.

Among the 125 killed, 14 were police personnel, including Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte. Encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, two National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, one Home Guard personnel and ten foreigners were also killed.

The commandos had successfully completed operations in Hotel Trident here this evening after a fierce battle which lasted more than 40 hours.

However, a pitched battle was on at Hotel Taj Mahal between the security forces and the terrorists.

Talking to reporters outside the Trident, after the completion of the operation, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil confirmed that the terrorists were from Pakistan. They can also furnish the proof, if needed.

''The Anti Terrorist Squad will handle the investigation into these attacks,'' he said.

Mr Patil admitted that they need to strengthen the coastal security in the wake of terrorists entered the city from the sea-route.

Earlier in the day, dozens of hand grenades were hurled from the Taj causing injuries to two persons.

The exchange of fire between the commandos and terrorists was intense throughout the day. In the gunbattle, one Major Sandeep Unnikrishan and another commando were killed.

Fire was seen billowing out from several rooms of the Taj.

In the morning, terrorists targeted mediapersons by hurling two hand grenades and firing indiscriminately at them from the first floor of the Taj building.

The hand grenades fell just before the Star News reporters, who were sitting near the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Gateway of India. However, they failed to explode.

A panic-like situation prevailed in the city this afternoon following a misfire by a constable near Chhatrapati Shivaji Termius (CST). However, Director General of Police A N Roy confirmed that barring the three places that of Taj Mahal Hotel, Nariman House and Trident Hotel, there was no terrorist firing anywhere in the state.

He also appealed to the public to not to believe in rumours and remain calm.

The militants laid seige at the Taj, Trident and the Nariman House since Wednesday night.

After the Army and the NSG completed their operation at the Trident, City police commissioner Hassan Gafoor told reporters that all the hostages had been rescued and two terrorists were killed in exchange of fire there.

About the mobile phone of a terrorist found at the Taj, he said, ''We are analysing it and expect to get some information from the phone.'' ''Chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence...'' EDs: Here pick up from para 7 of Dr 60 TERRORISM-MUMBAI-LEAD COMMANDOS TWO MUMBAI.

UNI ST/ZC/GS SB RAI2335

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