CNN and NBC are reporting that terrorists armed with automatic weapons and grenades attacked at least seven sites in Mumbai on Wednesday and were holding Western hostages. Police and Indian media have reported that at least 80 people were killed and more than 250 have been wounded.
Several people have been killed in a series of coordinated attacks targeting Mumbai sites popular with tourists and business people, according to police and CNN’s sister network in India.
Ongoing battles between police and gunmen were reported at two five-star hotels by CNN-IBN.
Gunmen armed with automatic weapons and grenades attacked targets including the hotels, a cafe, and a train station, police say.
Police confirmed 26 deaths but IBN said at least 55 people were killed and nearly 200 wounded in the coordinated strikes.
The attacks included five shootouts and two grenade attacks, said a police officer who answered Mumbai’s police control room line.
IBN reported an ongoing battle at the five-star Oberoi Hotel where gunmen have reportedly taken hostages after searching out people with U.S. or British passports.
At a second top hotel, the Taj, IBN reported more gunfire and chaos as a grenade exploded.
The attacks began about 2230 local time (1700 GMT) and more than two hours later witnesses were reporting new explosions and gunfire.
The targets include businesses frequented by international visitors in the city which is India’s financial center.
CNN correspondent Andrew Stevens said: “We are getting reports of ongoing incidents at the railway station and the Oberoi Hotel.
“We do not know if this has reached its peak or if more attacks to come.”
A local journalist told CNN he had seen evidence of an attack at the city’s domestic airport, which is on the outskirts of the Mumbai.
The gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a police station, a crowded train station and other sites in India’s financial capital in attacks that began late Wednesday and continued into Thursday, police and witnesses said.
“We have reports of 80 people dead and at least 250 injured. Many have serious injuries and the toll will go up,” P.D. Ghadge, a police officer in the main control room in Mumbai, told Reuters.
A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, said police were continuing to battle the gunmen. “The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed, the encounters are still going on and we are trying to overpower them,” he said.
Gunmen opened fire on two of the city’s best-known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, and some reports said they took hostages.
The attackers were holding an unknown number of Western hostages at the Taj, television reports said.
They also attacked a police station, the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold’s restaurant, a Mumbai landmark.
The motive was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, including a series of blasts in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
“It was really scary. It was like the sound of loud crackers, not one but several, we just ran out of there,” said Janice Sequeira, a tourist who had been at a restaurant in the Taj Mahal Hotel.
“The lobby of the Taj hotel is on fire,” a police spokesman told Reuters. “We are trying to find out how many people are inside the hotel.”
At the Oberoi, police officer P.I. Patil said shots had been fired inside and the hotel had been cordoned off. He would not give any other details.
Some of the injured were evacuated from the Taj on the hotel’s golden luggage carts, while waiters in black and white formal wear and chefs were seen leaving the Oberoi.