Update: The standoff in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai narrowed to a final running battle between commandos and at least one gunman who was still roaming the charred corridors of a luxury hotel, the Taj Mahal, but the murderous assault on this city continued to shake the nation and ratcheted up tensions with neighboring Pakistan.
American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Friday there was mounting evidence that a Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for the deadly attacks on Mumbai.
After two days of fighting, Indian security forces killed the attackers in one luxury hotel in the city known as the Oberoi Trident, freeing civilians trapped inside, as well as gunmen occupying the headquarters of an Orthodox Jewish organization nearby, ending the conflicts there.
All told, police said, more than 150 people, including at least 22 foreigners, were killed in the attacks across the city, which began on Wednesday night, as more bodies were carried out from the two hotels and the community center.
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Officials said as many as 30 people could still remain hostage in a luxury hotel tonight after terrorist attacks that have plunged the Indian financial capital of Mumbai into chaos.
Indian military commandos continued to exchange fire with an unknown number of militants one day after coordinated groups of gunmen shot and blasted their way through tourist sites around Mumbai on Wednesday night, apparently targeting American, Israeli and British citizens for use as hostages.
By late today, the toll had reached 125 dead and several hundred wounded. Among the dead were at least one Australian, a Japanese and a British national, officials say.
Indian officials say commandos are engaged in a fierce gunfight with terrorists holding an unknown number of hostages inside the luxury Oberoi-Trident hotel complex in Mumbai.
Police have taken at least seven people out of the two-hotel complex, one of three buildings where gunmen are still holding hostages in country’s financial capital.
The roof of the Oberoi hotel was ablaze as a result of explosions inside the building.
Commandos reportedly were sweeping through the adjoining Trident hotel, checking to see if terrorists were using it as an escape route.
There are reports that some of the terrorists may have fled Mumbai in stolen government Jeeps, and that police and military forces were setting up checkpoints and roadblocks around the city.
The Associated Press reports one of the rescued hostages told reporters he had seen many bodies inside the hotel. He did not give his name.
Indian TV, meanwhile, reports government officials fear the death toll at the Taj Mahal hotel could be high, with as many as 80-90 bodies inside. Some of the dead appear to have been killed by the gunmen, while others may have died in subsequent explosions and fires.
Reuters reports a militant at the Lubavitch Center phoned an Indian TV station with an offer to talk with government officials about the release of hostages.
The caller reportedly also complained about abuses in Indian Kashmir.