India troops mop up last Mumbai militants

Indian commandos killed the last Islamist gunmen holed up at Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel early today, ending a three-day battle across the financial capital that left at least 195 dead.



"Taj is under our control," Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor told Reuters, shortly after the building was raked by heavy gunfire as flames leapt from windows.



At least three militants and one trooper were killed after a running gunbattle through a maze of corridors, rooms and halls, the country's commando chief, Jyoti Krishna Dutt, told reporters.



The gunmen had set parts of the hotel ablaze as they played cat and mouse with scores of India's best-trained commandos, known as the Black Cats.



Sniffer dogs were taken into the iconic 105-year-old hotel and ambulances arrived. Some commandos did a final sweep of the rooms, while others boarded buses to pull out, looking exhausted.



Ratan Tata, the chairman of the Tata Group of companies which owns the hotel, arrived at the premises later in the morning. He may be shocked by what he finds when he is finally let inside.



"The lobby is an absolute mess," said Manish Mundra, a volunteer who was bringing food to security forces and had been inside the hotel. "The furniture is broken, there is water everywhere they are never going to to be able to reuse any of that stuff."



Black streaks of soot stained the grey bricks, white balconies and red-tiled roofs of the hotel's facade. Two of its corner stained-glass windows were broken.



The Taj Mahal was the last battleground after three days of intense fighting in various parts of the city of 18 million.



Several newspapers said some of the militants had checked into the Taj hotel some days or weeks before the attacks, while the Times of India said they had rented an apartment in the city a few months ago pretending to be students.



On Friday, an army general said the gunmen appeared to be "very, very familiar" with the layout of the hotel, giving them a crucial advantage over his men. They were also well trained.



"At times we found them matching us in combat and movement," one commando told the Hindustan Times. "They were either army regulars or have done a long stint of commando training."

Mumbai police said that at least 195 people had been killed and "we are still counting" as bodies were collected from the luxury Taj and nearby Trident-Oberoi hotels, scene of another siege that ended on Friday.



Well-dressed but haggard-looking guests were let back to their rooms in the Trident wing of the hotel on Saturday morning to collect their belongings.



Staff said they would re-open that wing on Wednesday, but not the Oberoi wing which was badly hit by a long gunbattle.



The Trident lobby was covered in broken glass, with bullet holes in the glass stair bannisters and in the doors leading into the Opium bar. A grand piano was left unscathed, but cars parked outside were also riddled with bullet holes.

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
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

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?