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Homeland Security

Indian Security Officials: Battle Continues at Taj Hotel

By VOA News
28 November 2008

More than 48 hours after terrorists first laid siege to India's financial capital, Mumbai, security forces say they have gained control over all but one of the targeted sites.

Indian security officials Friday report they have taken control of the Oberoi-Trident hotel and completed clearing operations at the besieged Chabad House Jewish center.

The director general of India's National Security Guards, J.K. Dutt, told reporters that no terrorists or hostages remain in the Chabad House.

But he said the battle is ongoing at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where the night sky is punctuated by fresh blazes and sounds of sporadic gunfire.

Earlier Friday, Dutt said commandos killed two militants and recovered the bodies of five hostages from the Jewish center.

The Jewish group's New York-based headquarters confirmed a rabbi and his wife are among the dead.

The U.S. State Department said Friday that two U.S. citizens were also killed in the Mumbai attacks.

At least 140 people have been killed and 300 wounded in the attacks. Foreigners and high-ranking police are among the dead.

British authorities Friday say they are investigating reports that the Mumbai attackers could include British citizens of Pakistani origin.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it is too early to reach any conclusions. But British security sources say they are probing India's claims that two gunmen who have been arrested are British born.

Beginning Wednesday, groups of attackers launched an unprecedented, highly coordinated series of attacks on multiple locations throughout Mumbai.

Shortly after the attacks began, Indian media reports said a previously unknown group, called Deccan Mujahideen, had claimed responsibility. It is not clear if that claim is credible.

Police say they have arrested several militants, including three suspected members of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

An Indian commando told reporters that the militants were well-trained and that it was clear they knew the layout of the buildings they attacked.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday he will tell "neighbors" that the use of their territory for launching terrorist attacks will not be tolerated.

In response, Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told reporters to avoid jumping to conclusions.

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