Police say 14 police officers, 81 Indian nationals and six foreigners have been killed. A Japanese businessman was confirmed to be among the dead. Four suspected terrorists have also been killed and nine arrested, they added.
The terrorists, armed with sophisticated weapons and grenades, entered the Chatrapati Shivaji terminal and opened fire killing and injuring several people. As well as the Oberoi and Taj hotels, they also attacked several major building in the Colaba, Nariman Point area.
Terrorists fired indiscriminately at Mazgaon, Metro junction, Crawford market, Colaba. In Vile Parle there was a huge blast in a taxi in front of the airport.
Latest reports suggest that Anti-terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare, who was injured in the attack, was killed. Mumbai's top counter-intelligence expert Vijay Salaskar is also reported to have been killed at the Taj hotel during the attack.
Meanwhile, two teams of 15 navy commandos have been called in to end the hostage situation at Mumbai's Oberoi hotel. Authorities said that highly-trained naval marines are being pressed into service to neutralise the terrorists, who are holed up in the two hotels. Forty guests are said to be held hostage and hundreds more trapped in the hotels.
Indian army commandos early this morning moved into Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels to flush out the Fidayeens (suicide bombers), who took control last night. Three to four heavily armed suicide attackers are said to be inside the Taj and Oberoi hotels.
It has been revealed that the terrorists, who orchestrated the deadly Fidayeen attack, had reached Mumbai last night. They had used a sea route and they were dropped by their handlers, using two speed boats and a hovercraft. Indiscriminae gunshots are still being still heard as the commandos land on the roof of the hotels, and sporadic fighting continues inside.
It seems that the terrorists are willing to fight for long as they have no shortage of water or food inside the hotels. They have not demanded any ransom, so this is essentially not a hostage situation, but more of a suicide mission. More will be updated soon.
However, this incident is escalating to a major diplomatic row, as the India Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee said in a press conference that the intelligence bureau has direct evidence of links to our neighbouring country, Pakistan. The Foreign Minister for Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has said in a counter statement that its not the time to be jingoistic though that is the fashion these days. He also stated that Pakistan and India faces a common enemy and that they should fight this problem collectively and through means of data sharing.
In an unconfirmed report from a source in the Ministry of External Affairs for India, Israel has expressed its concern at the style of the commando operation adopted by India and the fate of the Israeli Jewish hostages.
The army confirmed that a lone terrorist is holed up in the Taj hotel, after fresh rounds of staccato gunshots were heard at 11.30 in the morning. One wing of the building is "cleared", but the operation is still ongoing in the other wing, army sources stated.
British High Commissioner Richard Stagg is in Mumbai along with British Deputy High Commissioner Vicki Treadell. They have been visiting hospitals throughout the night. Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Israel, Tzipi Livni, spoke to the Israeli Consul General in Mumbai. She said: "I condemn this criminal terrorist attack that is still going on in Mumbai. This is further painful evidence that the terrorist threat is the greatest challenge which Israel and the international community have to face. Nothing justifies the unforgivable slaughter of innocents; it is therefore incumbent on the international community to cooperate in the ongoing war against this contemptible, heinous manifestation of terror." Calls from Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Canon, Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President have also been received by the Indian government.
"The United States Government is shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life caused by these vicious acts of terrorism. I extend sincere condolences to those injured by these criminal acts and to the families of the victims. The US Government has offered extensive assistance to deal with this ongoing crisis and stands ready to assist as the situation unfolds," US ambassador David Mulford said, as the US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice telephoned Minister Pranab Mukherjee and condemned the attacks.
Meanwhile, freed British hostages Karen Davies and William Bose, Australian Adam Martin, Italian Davide Canazie and American James Kiss, appeared distraught and puzzled but defiant. A myriad of emotions were expressed by these foreign nationals as they gave full support to the Indian government. Karen Davies said she won't cut short her visit to India. Aussie Adam Martin admitted that though he is a bit ruffled these attacks will not deter him from visiting India."I don't think fleeing or staying couped in the hotel because of these cowards is the answer...", he said. Kiss who is a political consultant in the US said he won't cancel his planned trip next week to Mumbai..
Bose and Canezie was glued to the Indian news channels throughout the day worried about the safety of their friends in the Taj hotel. They later received a telephone call to say that all were rescued safely by crack commandos.
Mumbai police commissioner Hassan Ghafoor says 24 bodies have been found in the Oberoi Trident hotel. It is unclear whether this will increase the number of deaths already reported. Mr Ghafoor says the hotel has been cleared, but operations are continuing in two other locations. One gunman has been arrested, while two or three others are still fighting.The NSG commandos have used huge explosives to blow up two floors of the building.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has refused to be drawn on reports that British citizens of Pakistani origin could have been involved in the terrorism attacks in Mumbai.Speculation about this involvement was also fuelled by remarks attributed to Erika Mann, a German member of the European Parliament (EP), who was caught up in the attacks during a visit of a EP delegation to Mumbai.
Britain has sent Scotland Yard detectives to Mumbai, and the US has also sent investigators to the city where a fierce gunbattle is raging between terrorists and security guards in the second wing of the Taj hotel.The total death toll is now reported to be 155.
* Update from Sumantra Maitra at 04:03 GMT on Saturday: General Hooda, the Director General of the National Security Guard, has said that the three remaining terrorists in the Taj hotel were killed. One was literally thrown top-down from a broken second floor window, in full view of the media, bringing to an end what seemed like a bloody hand to hand combat. Another terrorist has been captured alive and is known as Ajmal. He is being questioned by a combined security investigation team of a dozen countries. The operation is not completely over as the rooms in the hotel have to be sanitised and searched for explosives and boobytraps.