Nov 28, 2008

India - Militant may hold hostages in Taj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - At least one militant continues to battle commandos in the luxury Taj Hotel in Mumbai and may be holding two or more hostages, an army commander said on Friday.

Commandos were moving through the Taj to flush out Islamist gunmen who attacked the landmark hotel on Wednesday night in one of a series of raids across India's financial capital. Hundreds of guests had initially been trapped there.

"Almost all the guests in the hotel and the staff in the hotel have been evacuated," Lieutenant-General N. Thamburaj told reporters.

One militant had cut off lights in a dance floor room in the hotel. He roamed up and down two floors.

"It is possible that this terrorist has got two or more hostages with him."

"He is moving in two floors, there is a dance floor area where apparently he has cut off all the lights. And sometimes he gets holed up into some of the rooms, and he has made the area dark," Thamburaj said.

"This morning while carrying out the operation we heard the sound of a lady and a gentleman, so it is possible that this terrorist has got two or more hostages with him," he added.

"It is also possible there could be more than one terrorist there."

He said two militants were killed in a firefight on Thursday evening.

"There are a number of rooms locked up from inside. It is possible that some of the hotel guests have locked themselves in for their own security and safety."

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