MUMBAI At least 101 people were killed and more than 280 were wounded Wednesday as gunmen moved methodically through Indias financial capital, spraying automatic gunfire into crowds of civilians at hotels, restaurants, train stations, hospitals and the streets.
The attackers targeted tourists and Westerners at various sites in Mumbai formerly known as Bombay leaving destruction and flames coming from the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, a symbol of national pride in India.
At two locations frequented by tourists, grenades were lobbed into the crowds.
At least six foreigners have been killed and the death figure has gone up to 101 now, Ramesh Tayde, a senior police officer said.
We have a figure of 287 people injured.
Local media reported that gunmen were holding dozens of hostages at two five-star hotels, the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal, apparently looking for any tourists with British or American passports.
The Times of India said on its website that Mumbais domestic airport and two hospitals in the city had also been attacked.
Late Wednesday night, police in Mumbai said that four of the suspected gunmen had been killed and nine others arrested.
However, the chief minister of Maharashtra state said the situation was not yet contained.
"The situation is still not under control and we are trying to flush out any more terrorists hiding inside the two hotels," Vilasrao Deshmukh told a news conference.
A previously little-known organization calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen sent an e-mail to news organizations claiming responsibility for the attacks.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday that no Canadians had been confirmed among the injured.
Canada strongly condemns the savage terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which have left hundreds of innocent civilians injured or killed. These cowardly attacks are truly appalling, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said from Ottawa.
We are working with the Indian authorities to assist any Canadians who may have been directly affected by these events. We will continue to monitor events as they develop. Canada stands firmly united with the government of India in condemning these despicable acts of violence.
The governments of the United States and France, as well as the president of the European Union, also condemned the attacks.
Canadians with family or friends in Mumbai can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs at 1-613-996-8885.
Canadian tourists in India were being urged to call the department for assistance at 1-800-387-3124.
As dawn broke on the red, white and grey brick facade of the Taj on Mumbais waterfront, the hotel was surrounded by armed police, ambulances and fire engines, with intermittent firing heard, and flames and smoke still escaping from the roof.
At least two guests, trapped in their rooms, phoned TV stations. One said the fire doors were locked; another said he had seen two dead bodies by the swimming pool.
Two of my colleagues are still in there, and the last we heard from them was three hours ago and then the phone battery died, said a German national who escaped the Taj. We dont know where they are.
The fact that they were trying to segregate British and American passport holders, definitely suggests Islamist fervour, said strategic expert Uday Bhaskar.
This has very, very grave implications for Indias own domestic socio-economic harmony and this is a very serious turn of events.
India has suffered a wave of attacks in recent years in which low-intensity bombs were placed in highly crowded markets. More than 100 people have been killed in India in the past four months alone.
Most of the attacks have been blamed on Islamist militants, although police have also arrested suspected Hindu extremists thought to be behind some of the violence.
The latest attack, apparently aimed at least partly at prosperous Western tourists, could spook investors in one of Asias largest and fastest-growing economies.
Mumbai is a major metropolitan centre located on the west coast of India near the Arabian Sea.
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