Not all news organizations are ready to declare the siege over at this point. “Taj operation over with all militants dead, police say,” from France 24, November 29:
Indian commandos on Saturday killed the last Islamic militants holed up inside Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel, ending the more than two-day assault on India’s financial capital, the city’s police chief said.
“All (combat) operations are over. All the terrorists have been killed,” Mumbai police commissioner Hassan Gafoor said, 59 hours after the attacks began.
Extremely heavy gunfire had been heard from inside the hotel at dawn Saturday, with a major blaze also breaking out as Indian commandos fought to clear the building of Islamic militants, an AFP correspondent said.
Massive flames in the ground floor and first floor of the hotel appeared to be spreading rapidly though the building, the last area in Mumbai where gunmen were still holed up more than 58 hours after coordinated attacks rocked the city.
Firefighters rushed to the historic hotel, a large part of which was obscured by a huge cloud of smoke.
Military sources had earlier said that commandos were fighting up to three heavily armed militants left inside the hotel.
On Friday, Indian security forces launched massive assaults on Mumbai’s Chabab Jewish centre as well as the Taj and Oberoi hotels on Friday to hunt down the remaining terrorists responsible for a deadly two-day hostage drama in India’s economic capital.
At least 155 people — including two French nationals and two US citizens — were killed and about 370 others wounded in a series of coordinated attacks across the city.
At the city”s landmark Taj Mahal Palace hotel, FRANCE 24″s Lise Thomas-Richard said the fighting had been intense during the peak of the operation. “We are reaching the final stages of the operation on the Taj Mahal hotel,” said Thomas-Richard. “I hear explosions or shooting every two minutes.”
Earlier, police found explosives capable of causing “major damage” after regaining control most of the Taj Mahal hotel from armed militants, a senior police official said Friday.
Commandos exited the luxury hotel shortly after the assault and were greeted by a cheering crowd, but fighting soon resumed inside the building.