Arrested Mumbai gunmen 'of British descent'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Two gunmen arrested after the Mumbai massacre were of British descent, the country's chief minister said today.

UK authorities played down reports that the terrorists included Britons as violence in the city continued for a third day.

Gordon Brown said there was no mention of any of the terrorists being linked with Britain during a conversation with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said: "At no point has the Prime Minister of India suggested to me that there is evidence at this stage of any terrorist of British origins but obviously these are huge investigations that are being done and I think it will be premature to draw any conclusions at all.



"We remain steadfast and firm standing with India and all other countries against any form of terrorist activity and we will be vigilant in both helping the Indian authorities and in making sure that in every part of the world we support those who are fighting terrorism."



But Indian Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh claims two British-born Pakistanis were among eight gunmen arrested by Indian authorities, according to Associated Press reports.

Indian authorities said Mumbai would soon be back under their full control but confirmed the number of foreigners known to be killed in the attacks had risen to eight.

At least 143 people - including a wealthy British businessman - were left dead in the wave of terror that swept India's financial capital.

Earlier a German MEP caught up in the attacks said she had heard that British nationals were among the terrorists, as reports of the death toll hit 143, including eight foreign nationals.

Erika Mann was part of a trade delegation of MEPs from Brussels staying at the Taj Hotel.

Before leaving the city on a flight to London, she said she had escaped through an underground passage in the hotel.

She added: "The attacks appear to have a European dimension. We have heard from journalists and other people we were with that English citizens took part in the attacks and were killed in the hotel.

"This information is not confirmed, however. We were told that they came in by boat."

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said UK authorities had "no knowledge" of any British links with the massacre.

She told reporters: "We will do anything we can to help Indian authorities through what is obviously a very difficult time."



Ms Smith added: "We will do what is necessary. At the moment the priority is to support the immediate needs.



"We will work with the Indians to see what we can learn from the events."



Ms Mann, a member of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, said hotel staff helped steer her towards a route away from the hotel as gunmen burst in and began firing.

"The terrorists started shooting behind us. When we got to the street I stopped a car and by luck it belonged to some Indian journalists. The Indian people were wonderful in their support."

She said a new approach was now needed to tackle global terrorism: "These attacks have taught us all a difficult lesson," she said.

"We cannot continue just with local and regional structures to fight terrorism when we face an enemy that is organised on a global scale. Global terrorism of the sort we experienced in Mumbai involves a wide range of people, from young people influenced by fundamentalism to business people.

"This cannot be left as a problem for India alone. The ordinary people are as fed up as anyone else."



Meanwhile, a top Indian official says eight foreigners are known to have been killed so far in the Mumbai attacks and 22 more have been injured.

Top security official M.L. Kumawat says the dead include three Germans, and one person each from Japan, Canada and Australia. The nationalities of two more are unknown.



The injured include five from Britain, three Germans, two Americans, two from Oman and one each from Norway, Spain, Canada, Finland, Philippines, Australia, Italy and China. Two more were unknown.

24 more bodies were found today, taking the death toll to 143.

Even after claims by Indian authorities that the situation was under control, explosions were still being heard in central Mumbai.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that as far as the Government was aware, there were no British hostages still being held in the Indian financial capital.

And he said ministers were determined to do what they could to help the Indian authorities dealing with the attacks.

"It is clear that we have got to help the Indian government deal with this terrorist incident and we have sent people from the Metropolitan Police to help," he said.

"This is an atrocious outbreak of violence planned in advance and I think we have got to look at how international action against terrorism can be improved over the next period of time."

Mr Brown said the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Richard Stagg, was trying to establish how many UK nationals had been injured in the attacks.

He said his thoughts were with those who had died, including the British businessman Andreas Liveras.

"Of course, we are mourning the death of a British citizen who died and there are a number of British citizens who are injured," he said.

"As the High Commissioner visits different hospitals in the Mumbai area, he is trying to discover the degree to which people are ill and injured."

Mr Liveras, the founder of a luxury yacht business who was in his 70s, was pronounced dead on arrival at St George's Hospital in the city.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said "elements in Pakistan" were behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

He said: "According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible for Mumbai terror attacks.

"Proof cannot be disclosed at this time."

Hundreds were injured when the suspected Islamic militants attacked 10 sites in Mumbai.

Briton Mark Abell, whose home town was not known, was rescued at the Oberoi today.

He said: "I'm going home, I'm going to see my wife."

Mr Abell said he locked himself in his room during the siege.

He added: "These people here have been fantastic, the Indian authorities, the hotel staff. I think they are a great advertisement for their country."

Another man, who said he was British but would not give his name, said: "I didn't see anything. I just heard loud blasts.

"I was in my room. I didn't get out until an hour ago."

Gunmen launched co-ordinated attacks on targets in central Mumbai, including the two hotels and the city's packed railway station, on Wednesday.

Heavy gunfire continued today as commandos were dropped by helicopter on to the roof of a Jewish centre where at least 10 hostages were being held.

The commando attack on the centre run by the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch was punctuated by gunshots and explosions from within the building as forces cleared it floor by floor.

Security officials insisted their operations were almost over.

But within an hour of the statement two loud explosions were heard at the luxury Taj Mahal hotel, which authorities insisted last night was cleared of gunmen.

British citizen Nicole Griffen said she was rescued by Indian special forces from the Taj Mahal.

She told the BBC's Radio 5 Live: "They entered and looked through our passports and scouted around to see if there were (anyone) harbouring terrorists or attackers and then we were promptly told where to go by the central stairway and again we were asked to wait with other guests while they checked other floors and checked other rooms and we all congregated into one space where they could protect us centrally."

More than seven other Britons were among the injured, it was believed.

Retired teachers Diane and Michael Murphy, who live near Hexham, Northumberland, were on holiday in India and had only been in Mumbai for one day when the terrorists struck.

A group calling itself Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

But experts said they had never heard of the organisation and suggested that the radical Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi) might have been behind the massacre.

Prime Minister Singh blamed "external forces" for the violence - a phrase sometimes used to refer to Pakistani militants, whom Indian authorities often blame for attacks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living