Indian commandos battle Islamist gunmen, over 100 dead

MUMBAI, November 27, 2008 (AFP) – Indian army commandos were Thursday battling Islamist gunmen who launched coordinated attacks against luxury hotels and other targets in Mumbai, taking foreign hostages and killing over 100 people. One of the gunmen holed up in the Oberoi/Trident told the India TV channel by phone that they wanted an end to the persecution of Indian Muslims and the release of all fellow Islamic militants detained in India.

“Muslims in India should not be persecuted. We love this as our country but when our mothers and sisters were being killed, where was everybody?” he said from inside.

State officials said 101 people were killed in the assaults, involving small groups of gunmen armed with AK-47s and grenades. The attacks began around 10:30 pm (1700 GMT) Wednesday.

Up to 287 other people were also reported wounded.

Nine foreign nationals were among the dead — including a Japanese businessman, an Australian and an Italian — while Americans, Israelis and Canadians were said to be among those held.

The main Bombay Stock Exchange, itself hit by a terror attack in 1993, was closed until further notice, as were shops, schools and businesses.

In the wake of the attacks, England’s cricketer