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Indian police move in to release hostages held in luxury hotel

RIA Novosti

27/11/2008 09:47 MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) - Indian special forces have begun an operation to try and release hostages held in a luxury hotel, Oberoi, in India's financial capital, Mumbai (Bombay), local TV reported on Thursday.

Militants seized two luxury hotels - the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal - on Wednesday night and took hundreds of guests hostage. The gunmen are demanding the release of all militants held in Indian prisons.

"We want all mujahedeen held in India released, and only after that we will release the people," a militant told Indian TV early on Thursday, adding that there were seven armed militants inside the Oberoi hotel.

Armed gunmen struck Mumbai on Wednesday night in attacks with guns and grenades that left over 100 people dead, including 12 police officers and six foreigners, with at least a further 287 people injured. The head of the local anti-terrorist department was also killed in the attack.

The UN, the EU and world leaders have condemned the violence and expressed condolences to the government and people of India.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently on a visit to Venezuela, said: "Terrorist attacks, similar to those in Mumbai, challenge the humanity and the existing world order."

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