Female Suicide Bombers Hit Moscow Subway

At least 35 are dead:

Female suicide bombers detonated explosions that rocked two subway stations in central Moscow during rush hour on Monday morning, killing at least 35 people, officials said.

“It was a terrorist act carried out by the female suicide bombers,” said Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, citing Russia’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service. “They were specifically timed — for … the train was nearing the station — to make the most damage.

“The blast was caused by 300 to 400 grams of explosives,” he said.

A Web site associated with Chechen separatists claimed responsibility for the attacks. Chechnya is located in an area of Russia known as the North Caucasus, located between the Black and Caspian Seas.

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The New York Times has photos.

Hostages Still Held at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel – Other Locations

tajmahal mumbai india Hostages Still Held at Mumbais Taj Mahal Hotel   Other Locations
Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel

This is still a very fluid situation but some hotel guests escaped in the chaos and have provided some insight:

Another British guest at the Taj Mahal hotel, where the England cricket team had been staying two weeks ago, said that he had managed to escape the terrorists after finding himself among a dozen people who were herded together by two heavily armed men and taken up to the hotel’s upper floors.

“They were very young, like boys really, wearing jeans and T-shirts,” he added. “They said they wanted anyone with British and American passports and then they took us up the stairs. I think they wanted to take us to the roof.” He said he escaped when they reached the 18th floor.

As he was speaking, there was a loud explosion from the roof of the hotel. Several European politicians were among a group who had barricaded themselves inside the Taj Mahal, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city’s best-known destinations.

They included Sajjad Karim, a Conservative MEP. He said by mobile phone: “I was in the lobby of the hotel when gunmen came in and people started running. There were about 25 or 30 of us. Some of us split one way and some another. A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me. I managed to turn away and I ran into the hotel kitchen and then we were shunted into a restaurant in the basement. We are now in the dark in this room and we’ve barricaded all the doors. It’s really bad.”

THe number of hostages seems to range wildly in reports – with some estimates at 100 or more:

Over 40 western hostages are reportedly being held at two luxury hotels in soutern Mumbai, say the Times of India.

Fire is reportedly spreading across the Heritage Wing of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel amid ongoing firefights between the army and terrorists.

CNN is reporting that 7-15 hostages remain in the Taj specifically. While NDTV puts the number of terrorists still on scene at 3 to 4.

More on the historic Taj at its website.

Chaos in Mumbai India: Terrorist Swarm Attack – Dozens Dead – Western Hostages (Including Americans) Reportedly Held

This sort of attack, requiring little more than light weapons, relatively small amounts of explosives, and pretty basic coordination, is what worries me most as we head into the holidays. They’re relatively easy to stage and quite effective:

Several people have been killed in a series of coordinated attacks targeting 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 two deaths but IBN said at least 18 people were killed in the coordinated strikes, according to IBN.

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.

Up to 80 may have been killed and 200 injured but these numbers are in flux:

There have been multiple attacks in India’s city of Mumbai and breaking reports have just revealed that up to 80people may be dead.

It appears that new attacks are occurring and that Americans are being targeted. It’s difficult to tell in the chaos. More as the story develops.

Follow the global conversation about these attacks on Twitter.

Indian bloggers are pulling together at Mumbai Help.

Now following updates from Mumbai by Twitter user Kaushal.

More on the terrorists effort to identify foreigners in their attacks:

Shootings were reported in the lobby of the five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel in the Colaba area of south Bombay and at the nearby Leopolds bar, a popular destination with western backpackers. Witnesses described pools of blood and bullet scarred walls at both locations.

A witness at the hotel told a local television station: “They wanted anyone with British or American passports.
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“They wanted foreigners.”

It’s still difficult to tell if this round of attacks is coming to an end or if it will continue:

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.

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.

IBN reported explosions at a gas station and inside a taxi on a dockside road.