At least 78 dead in Mumbai 'terror attacks'

At least 78 people were killed and 200 injured today when gunmen opened fire on a crowded Mumbai railway station, luxury hotels and a restaurant popular with tourists.

Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state in India, of which Mumbai is the capital, says the death toll could rise further.



The gunmen attacked the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark, along with the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels.



The motive for the attacks was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, often blamed on Muslim militants, including a series of blasts in July last year that killed 187 people.



Several European MEPs were among those barricaded inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.



Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of MEPs visiting Mumbai ahead of a forthcoming EU-India summit, said: "I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside."



He turned to get away "and all of a sudden another gunman appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he said.



Hours later, he remained holed up in the hotel, unsure if the incident was over, and whether it was safe to come out.



"We have no idea what's going on," he said.



Arvind Kodekar was at a wedding reception at the Taj Mahal when an explosion rang out.



He said: "When we heard the sound of the blast, everyone - the bride, the groom, everyone - just ran. We heard the sound of two blasts and we just ran."



At the Oberoi, police officer P.I. Patil said shots were fired inside and the hotel had been cordoned off.



Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A.K. Sharma said several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up in the railway station.



Leopold's restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood stains on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.



The Taj Mahal Palace, one of the most famous hotels in India, was home to the England cricket team when they visited Mumbai around two weeks ago.



They were also planning to use the hotel on their return to the city for the team's second Test Match against India, which is scheduled to start on 19 December.



The team were in the eastern Indian city of Cuttack today after losing their latest one-day game against India.

India has been wracked by deadly bomb attacks in recent years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilising the largely Hindu country.



Since October 2005, nearly 700 people have died in the bombings. And since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that have killed more than 130.



The most recent was in September when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100 others.

Mumbai has been hit repeatedly by terror attacks since March 1993, when Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carried out a series of bombings on Mumbai's stock exchange, trains, hotels and petrol stations.

Authorities said those attacks, which killed 257 people and wounded more than 1,100, were carried out to avenge the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots which swept India.

Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in July last year a series of seven blasts ripped through railway trains and commuter stations. At least 187 died in those attacks.

Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80% of India's population, and Muslims, who make up about 14%, have been relatively peaceful since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947, but there have been sporadic bouts of violence.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
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

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee