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Page last updated at 23:29 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

As it happened: Mumbai attacks 27 Nov

Fire inside the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (27 November 2008)

Indian security forces have surrounded two hotels in Mumbai, the Oberoi Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace, which were taken over by gunmen who launched co-ordinated attacks in the city on Wednesday that have so far left more than 100 people dead.

You can review later updates here:

2315 Security forces are still trying to secure a Jewish centre in Mumbai where Israelis are believed to be trapped or held hostage. Two explosions were heard at the site early on Friday, AFP reports.

Damian Grammaticas
2220The BBC's Damian Grammaticas outside the Oberoi hotel says: Police believe there are still two gunmen hiding out on the 18th floor, and up to 50 people are still being held hostage.

2150 Commandos have rescued 39 people trapped inside the Oberoi/Trident hotel and "mopping-up operations" go on, AFP reports, quoting Indian police.

comment from blogger
2132From the Lenin's Tomb blog, Northern Ireland: This grotesque hunting and killing of innocents is likely to succeed in (what appears to be) its principle aim of generating both a repressive response from the Indian state and a communal reaction. Read Lenin's Tomb.

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2120 Sujeet tweets: Couldn't the news channels just anchor a camera to some vantage points and/or news vans and just broadcast? Read Sujeet's tweets.

2116 An AFP correspondent hears two "loud explosions" near the Jewish centre in Mumbai where militants are believed to be still holed up. "The blasts were heard coming from an area inside Nariman House," the correspondent adds.

Damian Grammaticas
2103The BBC's Damian Grammaticas says: The most dangerous phase of this crisis may yet be to come as Indian security forces close in on the gunmen.

2058 At least three Americans were injured in the attacks, AP reports. Washington has urged US citizens not to travel to Mumbai for at least 48-72 hours.

2040 Kunal Kohli, a Mumbai film-maker, tells the BBC the Taj Mahal hotel is hugely significant for Indians: "It is not just a hotel, it is a symbol of Mumbai and for that to be attacked is no less than the World Trade Centre being attacked in New York. It is truly our 9/11."

2036 Frank Wisner, former US ambassador to Delhi, tells the BBC the attacks are unprecedented in India. He believes the incoming Obama administration will maintain strong ties with India and give a great deal of attention to anti-terrorist efforts there.

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2032SDMike, San Diego, tweets: Approx 25 terrorists entered Mumbai. Where are all of them? Approx 9 killed and a few captured. Where are the rest? Read SDMike's tweets.

2011 BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says: It is still unclear who ordered these attacks. Al-Qaeda and its followers tend to prefer massive suicide truck bombs and are acutely media-savvy, filming their attacks. That does not appear to have happened this time.

2005 The BBC's Rahul Tandon reports from Mumbai: The effect these attacks have had on one of India's most vibrant cities is likely to be felt for some time yet. Mumbai will hope that this nightmare will end soon.

1951 Parthiv Parekh, editor of Indian-American magazine Khabar in Atlanta, comments for AP: "If people don't stop getting wrapped up in sentiment and emotions and tit-for-tat, it will never end."

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1939kaiesh tweets: Does anyone know what the demands/motivation... are/is of the terrorists? No mention made of it on UK news Read kaiesh's tweets.

1933 The Indian news agency PTI reports that security forces have arrested three militants, including a Pakistani national, inside one of the Mumbai hotels which were attacked.

1926 Seven Italians including a baby are among the foreigners trapped in the Oberoi hotel, the Italian foreign ministry tells AFP news agency. An Italian killed in the attacks is named as Antonio de Lorenzo.

Chris Morris
1915 The BBC's Chris Morris reports from Mumbai:The authorities warn that the remaining gunmen are well armed and well trained. It is still not clear how many people may have been taken hostage, nor how many may be taking refuge in their rooms.

Mark Dummet
1908 The BBC's Mark Dummett reports from outside the Taj Mahal hotel:We could hear gunfire from the hotel half an hour ago. Most of the action is taking place inside and we will not have a clear picture until the Indian security forces, who are here in huge numbers, have completed their operations.

1904 Interpol say they are sending a team immediately to Mumbai at the request of the Indian police.

1859 Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Praneb Mukherjee says there were 10 incidents in all. "Definitely this is one of the worst terrorist attacks which we had to suffer over several years," he adds.

1851 Between 15 and 25 French nationals were trapped in Mumbai hotels on Thursday as a result of the attacks, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in Paris. They included a 15-strong Air France team. The French nationals were not being held hostage, he added.

1824 UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband says: "The fact that these were coordinated attacks, attacks on travel centres as well as on hotels, bears some hallmarks of al-Qaeda, but equally that does not mean that this is an al-Qaeda attack. It is very premature to start talking about links to al-Qaeda."

1821 A Maharashtra state official tell the Associated Press that eight hostages have been freed from the Jewish outreach group's offices inside Nariman House.

Damian Grammaticas
1810The BBC's Damian Grammaticas says: The operation at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is still not over. The numbers of casualties involved are quite staggering; 325 injured, six of them Britons, some of them seriously ill in hospital here. At the Oberoi, there are still hostages inside.

1810 JK Dutt, director-general of India's National Security Guards, tells NDTV that the siege at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is not over and that one injured gunman remains. There are no remaining gunmen at the Trident hotel, he says, while two remain in the complex on the eighth floor of the adjoining Oberoi.

1800 Oberoi Hotels says it is "deeply saddened by the tragic events in Mumbai". "We are very concerned about the safety of our guests and staff at the hotels in Mumbai. Our thoughts are with their families," it says. "Despite all efforts we are unable to make contact with the persons inside the hotel. Therefore at present, we do not have more information than what is being relayed by the media."

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scorpfromhell tweets: Forgiving or punishing the terrorists is left to God. But, fixing their appointment with God is our responsibility - Indian Army [motto]. Read scorpfromhell's tweets.

1735 India TV has published the transcripts of telephone conversations with two of the alleged gunmen, Shadullah and Imran Babar, during which they explain why they carried out the attacks.

comment from blogger
Aditi Nadkarni, Desicritics.org: This time when some of the headlines stated that foreigners, specifically Brits and Americans were being targeted I was puzzled. And then it made sense. With the security heightened in the US and in Britain as well in recent years, it is hard to target Americans and British nationals inside their own country. Mumbai security has never been particularly terrorist-proof and hosts tourists from all over the world. Read the Desicritics.org blog.

1724 The British citizen killed has been named as Andreas Liveras, reported to be the founder of a luxury yacht business who was in his 70s.

1717 Two Pakistani merchant vessels have been stopped by the Indian Navy off the coast of India, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI). The Indian interior ministry says the ships were stopped off the coast of Gujarat state, just north of Mumbai.

1715 Six Canadians are among the hostages being held at one of the hotels in Mumbai, a senior Canadian government official says. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was told earlier on Thursday by Indian officials, he adds.

1709 Irish designer Geraldine Larkin says she escaped unharmed from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel after staff and customers barricaded themselves in the hotel restaurant. "The army came... and we were guided out by the staff," she tells Ireland's RTE radio. "I didn't look around. I didn't want to see anything. I was quite in shock. I don't think I was aware of my surroundings."

1700 Between 10 and 20 Israeli nationals, possibly more, are among the hostages being held in Mumbai, the Israeli embassy in Delhi tells the AFP news agency.

1650 UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband confirms one Briton is dead and that more are in hospital, some in a serious condition. "This has been a callous, inhuman and indiscriminate attack on people of all races and all religions," he says. Mr Miliband pledges to provide "all the support we can" to injured British nationals.

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_jiga tweets: feels like there is no intelligence in India. how much more lives will it take for the govt to wake up and fight against terror? Read _jiga's tweets.

1640 Indian author and columnist Shobha De tells NDTV: "Terrorists walked in and walked out of this city because there was a complete intelligence failure. But more than that, there was a leadership failure, which is completely and totally shocking, and the people of the city must speak up."

1630 The business partner of Ralph Burkei, a German man killed in the attacks, says he died trying to flee the Taj Mahal Palace hotel by climbing out of a window. "Apparently he could no longer leave the room through the corridors and that's why he tried to rescue himself via the facade of the building, together with his girlfriend. It seems both of them fell one or two floors and they couldn't immediately be tended to by rescue services," Ralph Piller tells Reuters news agency.

1625 British businessman Mark Coutts-Smith tells BBC 5live that he has just come from a briefing at the British Council. He says he was told that all the hostages were now out of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, but that gunmen were still moving from floor to floor.

1622 The England cricket squad will return to London on Friday, but the Test series with India will go ahead as planned, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirms.

1620 Sandra Samuel, a cook at the Jewish cultural centre inside Nariman House, says she escaped with the co-directors' two-year-old son. She says she barricaded herself in a first-floor room for 12 hours, but peered outside and escaped after hearing the child's cries through the door. "I just grabbed the baby and ran out," she tells Israel's Haaretz newspaper. Chabad House's co-directors, Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, are being held hostage.

1618 Indian navy spokesman Capt Manohar Nambiar tells the AFP news agency that nothing suspicious was found aboard a cargo vessel thought to have been connected to the attacks.

1613 The Press Trust of India (PTI) says that nine foreign nationals have been killed in the attacks, including one Briton, an Australian, a Japanese and an Italian. The nationalities of the other five have not yet been ascertained, it says.

1606 A member of the Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Toiba, has been captured alive in the Oberoi Trident hotel, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reports. It says 20 to 25 gunmen are believed to have arrived in Mumbai in three inflatable boats, launched from a larger vessel.

1559 Pakistan's Defence Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar, says his country played no role in the attacks. Responding to a suggestion by an India's general that the gunmen were from Pakistan, he tells the AFP news agency: "In previous cases they have acted like this, but later it all proved wrong. We are very much positive that Pakistan is not involved in this."

1557 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says the attacks in Mumbai threatened everyone. "We grieve over these losses and believe that such terrorist attacks damage the entire world order. They are a challenge to humanity," he adds.

1545 A senior police official says the death toll has now risen to more than 125, according to the AFP news agency.

1533 Cafe worker Pappu Mishra told to the BBC's Soutik Biswas about the moment when two men dressed in black walked into the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus rail station on Wednesday evening, pulling out guns from their bags and shooting commuters. "Their audaciousness was breath taking," he says. "One man loaded the magazine into the gun, the other kept shooting. They appeared calm and composed. They were not in the slightest hurry. They didn't seem to be afraid at all."

1529 A senior Indian army officer, Maj Gen RK Huda, tells local TV stations that he believes there are 10 to 12 combatants in total at the two hotels and at Nariman House. One man has been arrested, he says. Gen Huda says the security services believe the gunmen were "from across the border and perhaps from Faridkot, Pakistan". "They tried to pretend that they were from Hyderabad," he says. "Intercepts show terrorists speaking in Punjabi," he adds.

1520 Mumbai blogger Amit Varma tells the BBC: It shocks me that it's still going on. But even after it's over it's changed the city forever. We've seen terrorist attacks in the past but just the scale of these attacks and the way they've been planned... It's very scary.

1525 US President-elect Barack Obama says the US must strengthen ties with India and other nations to "root out and destroy terrorist networks".

1517The BBC's Mark Dummet says: Contrary to reports there still appear to be people inside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. I saw what I think was a woman… desperately trying to open up the window of her room and then giving up in frustration. There are people still in the hotel but we don't know how many and what condition they're in. In the last few seconds a lot of gunfire has been heard coming from the old, historic heart of the hotel. Clearly, security forces are still battling with the gunmen.

1504 SS Mukherjee, the vice-chairman of Oberoi Hotels, tells India's NDTV that five or six of his staff members have been killed during the siege, and that around 200 people are still trapped inside. "We believe that not less than 100 people are at the Oberoi side and not less than 100 people inside the Trident side," he says. Mr Mukherjee estimates that last night's occupancy at the hotel had been between 375 and 385 guests. He says the gunmen "have not gone down [to] the basement and have only gone to the upper floors".

1500 Farzed Jehani, who owns the popular backpacker haunt, the Leopold Café, told the BBC how it was stormed by gunmen. "Two people from the outside... started firing into the premises," he says. "For a minute it was like firecrackers, but they realised very soon that it wasn't - it was bullets flying. A grenade was thrown into the restaurant which, yes, blew [up]... Two of my waiters died. There was around five or six tourist bodies lying on the floor, as well as five or six Indian people who were lying on the floor, dead."

1443 The AFP news agency quotes unnamed French officials as saying that 15 Air France crew members were among the 200 people trapped in the Trident-Oberoi hotel. Air France will not confirm this but says the crew in Mumbai is in contact with airline officials in Paris.

1415 Indian media reports an explosion at the Oberoi-Trident hotel as well as at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. NDTV India says the operation continues.

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Sengupta tweets: Trident fire seems under control. Read Sengupta's tweets.

Ashokjjr tweets: Oberoi fire under control now. Read ashokjjr's tweets.

1415 Reuters news agency reports huge flames shooting from an upper floor of the Oberoi-Trident hotel.

1409 India's Times Now television channel says the fire at the Oberoi-Trident hotel is on the 13th and 14th floors.

1405 The BBC's defence and security correspondent, Rob Watson, says: In his first reaction to the attacks in Mumbai, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointed the finger of blame beyond India's borders. Though he did not mention Pakistan by name, the inference was clear. So far the only claim of responsibility for the attack has come from a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen. The name, which is a reference to a geographical area in central and southern India, doesn't necessarily mean that is where the attackers came from and indeed may well be just a front.

1400 US President George W Bush has telephoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to offer "support and assistance to the government of India as it works to restore order, provide safety to its people and comfort to the victims and their families, and investigate these despicable acts", the White House has said.

1356 The UK Foreign Office confirms that one British national is among the dead.

1352 In a message published by the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI says he is "deeply concerned about the outbreak of violence" in Mumbai and sends his "heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in these brutal attacks".

1347 India's CNN-ibn and Times Now television channels are reporting that commandos of National Security Guards (NSG) are preparing for a final assault on Nariman House.

1342 India's Times Now television channel reports that a senior official in the Maharashtra state government has said that 400 people have so far been rescued from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, and 70 from the Oberoi Trident.

1340 A British hotel guest who was in the restaurant of the Oberoi Trident when the hotel was attacked on Wednesday told the BBC: "The gunmen came into the restaurant and we were ushered, or some of us were ushered, into the kitchen. I think some of the others got out the back door. And then the gunmen told us to go up the stairs, up the fire escape stairs, about 30 of us altogether. So we're walking up each flight of stairs, and then he stopped us after two or three flights and told everyone to put their hands up and said: 'Where are you from? Are there any British or Americans here? Show us your ID,' and all this. People started getting out their business cards, or ID cards or whatever... So I was there with my hands up just thinking basically I was in, you know, serious trouble."

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Emergent007 tweets: The situation will get far more complicated as night falls in Mumbai ... Read Emergent007's tweets.

1325 India's Times Now television channel reports that a large number of police commandos are coming out of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. It says 31 hostages have been rescued from the Oberoi Trident hotel, although unconfirmed reports put the figure at about 60.

Karishma Vaswani
1315The BBC's Karishma Vaswani says: There's still a tense stand-off at the Oberoi. People are extremely anxious about the situation. The investigation seems to be focusing on the theory that the weapons involved were brought into the country by sea.

1305 India's NDTV is reporting that 200 people are still stuck in the Oberoi Trident hotel. It says seven people have been rescued but that gunmen "have opened fire on the 8th floor".

e-mail sent in by reader
Apnavi Thacker, who is currently in a building opposite the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, says: I'm seeing a lot of smoke, but the fire is out of my vision. I could see people on the balconies at the Taj Tower. I can't see any fire there. I don't know who they are. They could be army but they were there until about 30 minutes ago.

See pictures Ms Thacker took from her window:

1258 UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says it is "too early" to say whether any British lives have been lost. Mr Brown says has spoken to staff at a Foreign Office emergency response centre which has already taken more than 800 calls. "There are obviously British casualties and the High Commissioner is visiting those people who are injured in the hospitals of Mumbai," he says.

1255 Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has telephoned the head of the governing Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, to condemn the attacks. He said the killing of innocent people was a "detestable act", adding: "Militancy and extremism in all its forms and manifestations have to be eliminated and all countries need to co-operate with each other in this regard."

1250 At the St George Hospital in western Mumbai, the relatives of those caught in the attacks have been waiting for news. One man said he had been at a railway station with several members of his family. "Suddenly a bomb exploded just a few paces away from where my luggage was kept... My wife who was also with me was injured by a bullet," he told the Reuters news agency.

1245 Ratan Tata, owner of the Taj Hotel chain and chairman of the Tata Group, has told local television that his employees "feel rather helpless. "We are out of the property. Our staff have been very courageous. They have done all they can to help the guests," he says. "This is a very, very unfortunate situation, which we are not going to forget. And I hope the authorities don't forget it either."

1240 UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says his government is doing "everything in its power" to help British citizens caught up in the violence. "We are sending police emergency teams that are well versed in dealing with terrorism," he says. "We are determined to maintain contact with those people up in the hotels. We will be able to keep people in touch during the day."

1235 UK opposition leader David Cameron expresses his horror at the Mumbai attacks. "Our sympathy must be with the victims, yes of course, but also our support for the Indian government at this time," he says. "[The attackers] want to separate countries like Britain and India and we should be saying our trade, our tourism, everything we do together, our relationship together, will get stronger."

1229 India's Times Now television channel is reporting another round of gunfire at the Oberoi Trident Hotel. It says one militant has been arrested at the hotel, where 40 people are still being held hostage.

1225 An gunman holed up in Nariman House has asked the Indian government to talk and offered to release hostages, according to the Reuters news agency. He has phoned an Indian TV station to say he acted in response to the killing of Muslims by Indian troops in Kashmir.

1219 The AFP news agency quotes the German foreign ministry as confirming that one German national has been killed and several injured in the attacks.

e-mail sent in by reader
Bobby Sinha, a tattooist who works close to Nariman House, where several Israelis are reportedly being held hostage by gunmen, says: I'm just near the Nariman building and commandos have just started firing. I'm still at work we couldn't leave last night. Right now a lot of crowds are moving away because the army has started shooting. I can see hundreds of army and police people.

1215 Television cameras have captured shots of people escaping from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel by climbing down drainpipes.

Mark Dummet
1213The BBC's Mark Dummet says: The explosions in the last 90 minutes at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel could signal a change in tactics by security forces. It's clear there's still a major confrontation going on here between the security forces who have surrounded these buildings and the handful of gunmen still holding out inside. Every so often another ambulance roars away from here. We don't know who's inside.

1205 The owners of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel say they are "monitoring the development of the unfortunate situation unfolding... and are fully co-operating with the police and the government authorities who are working towards the safety and security of all our guests and staff". "We will rebuild every inch that has been damaged in this attack and bring back the Taj to its full glory," they add.

1203 India's NDTV is reporting that regular gunfire can be heard at the Oberoi Trident hotel.

1201 Alpesh Patel, a businessman who works for the UK government advising firms on Anglo-Indian trade, says that "life will go on" in the business world despite the attacks. "Business cannot afford to ignore what's one of the fastest-growing economies in the world," he tells BBC World News.

e-mail sent in by reader
Mark Coutts-Smith, who was staying at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, says: I got out immediately after the first attack in the lobby. I stood in the front of the hotel and watch the whole thing for over 12 hours. I saw the whole thing and avoided some of the drama.

I just missed it through some fluke. I came into the lobby after the gunmen had passed through it. They first went into Taj Palace lobby. I was completely unaware of that for various reasons. I then entered the Taj Towers lobby to find it completely deserted. There was a strange smell. I had not heard the shooting. Then I saw some security people who came in grabbed me and frogmarched me and threw me into the plaza. Then we stood in the plaza and watched it right through.

1149 Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum of Britain says the Mumbai attacks will send a shudder of fear through Indian communities. "Every time there is a terror attack in India, there is a great concern here in Britain because we have emotional and family links," he tells the Reuters news agency.

1146 A fire is raging inside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The fire brigade has just gone into the building.

1145 Jason Burke, a Pakistan-based journalist and expert on Islamist militants, tells BBC World News that its "too early" to tell whether the attacks were carried out by a foreign group, as India's prime minister has said. "It's not uncommon after such attacks that the Indian government blames terrorists from Pakistan," he says. "Pakistan is likely to respond and we could see a very nasty diplomatic crisis coming out of this which is what the group behind the attacks wanted to provoke."

1139 Maharashtra state police chief AN Roy is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying: "We are in the final stages of operations. We are confident that we'll be able to counter the terrorists." Mr Roy did not say how many gunmen were still thought to be inside the two hotels. He said there were no hostages at the Taj Mahal Palace, but "still quite a few" at the Trident Oberoi.

1137 The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has spoken of the need for strong measures to eradicate terrorism and extremism following the Mumbai attacks. His Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has meanwhile called for concerted efforts to make the region a peaceful place to live. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the attacks showed that terrorists were trying to destabilise democracy by targeting an important centre of the Indian economy.

1135The BBC's Rahul Tandon says: Mumbai is normally a bustling city, at the moment the streets are quiet. Offices and schools are shut. It is going to take some time for India's economic capital to return to normal.

1130 Local television pictures appear to show some hostages have been rescued from the Oberoi Trident hotel. Other hostages can be seen at the building's windows.

1125 Bangladesh's acting Foreign Minister, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, has "condemned in the strongest terms" the attacks in Mumbai. He says he has written to his Indian counterpart to tell him "these are acts of terrorism and terrorism serves no purpose".

1120 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says that "existing laws will be tightened to ensure there are no loopholes available to terrorists to escape the clutches of the law". He also pledges to restrict the entry of suspects into the country and make sure "every perpetrator, organiser or supporter of terror pays the price" for the attacks. "We will tell our neighbours that their territory being used to carry out attacks in India will not be tolerated. I'm confident the people of India will rise united to face this challenge to the country's security and integrity," he concludes.

1114 There has been another massive explosion at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel - the second in about 15 minutes, reports say. Smoke can be seen billowing out of the building.

1113 Mr Singh says the attackers were "intent on creating a sense of panic by choosing high-profile targets" and praises the courage of police. "It is evident that the group which carried out the attacks is based outside the country, it came with the single-minded determination to carry out havoc in the financial capital of the country," he adds.

1110 Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says in a televised address that his government will "take all necessary measures to look after the well-being of affected families".

1108 Indian government asks for live Twitter updates from Mumbai to cease immediately. "ALL LIVE UPDATES - PLEASE STOP TWEETING about #Mumbai police and military operations," a tweet says.

1105 India's Times Now television channel reports that "the loudest possible explosion we've heard in the last 15 hours has come from the Taj hotel in the last few minutes". It says an ambulance has just arrived at the hotel's main entrance.

1103 Security forces have also surrounded Nariman House, a five-story residential building near the Oberoi Trident hotel that contains an office of the Jewish outreach group, Chabad Lubavitch. Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, the group's main representative, is thought to have been taken hostage. Reports say his wife and daughter have been freed. The Reuters news agency says that four gunmen remain in the building. There have been reports of gunfire.

Indian security services personnel near the Taj Mahal Palace hotel (27 November 2008)

1100 The Indian navy says its forces have boarded a cargo vessel they believe to be linked to the attacks, the Associated Press news agency reports. Navy spokesman Capt Manohar Nambiar says the MV Alpha had recently come to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan.

1057 Dr Robert Bradnock, an expert on South Asian politics at Kings College, London, tells the BBC the Indian government had already been under pressure for failing to cut the number of attacks in Mumbai before Wednesday. He says the government is trying to engage opposition politicians in a bid to create a consensus on how best to approach the problem. The ruling Congress party is facing a test as voting in four state elections get underway on Thursday.

1050 The Mumbai stock exchange and commodities exchange - India's main financial markets - have been closed for the day, and many offices are shut. Airlines say flights in and out of Mumbai are largely unaffected, but they are monitoring the situation.

1045 Middlesex captain Shaun Udal says it was a "sensible decision" to postpone the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament. "I don't see any point carrying on with the tournament in such circumstances," he tells Sky Sports News.

1044 Mumbai resident Malini Agrewal tells BBC World News TV she had initially thought the explosions at the Oberoi Trident hotel, opposite where she lives, were "fireworks, perhaps a celebration to do with the cricket". "We had no idea what we were dealing with. Then there were two tremors. Flames started to erupt from the hotel," she says.

1040 The head of the governing Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, has strongly condemned the attacks. "The dastardly terrorist attack in Mumbai is an act of cowardice and deserves the strongest condemnation," she tells reporters in Delhi. "I urge the people of Mumbai to remain calm and firm in these testing times. I'm confident that the resilience of the people of Mumbai shall remain undeterred."

1037 Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to address the nation on television at 1630 local time (1100 GMT), the government says.

1029 Maj Gen RK Huda, commander of the army in Maharashtra state, tells local TV channels that members of the National Security Guard are doing a room-by-room search of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. He says: "They started from the top floor and have come down to the 21st floor. There are 365 rooms to be searched... We don't know about the number of hostages. We know there are four to five terrorists."

1028 British MEP Sajjad Karim, who spent the night barricaded in the basement of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, tells BBC World News TV that guests had fled one gunmen at the hotel's entrance only to be confronted by another at the back. "He had quite a large machine gun in his hand and simply pointed it towards the crowd and started to use it. Pure instinct takes over. As soon as the first shots were fired, I saw a few people go down and I, along with everyone else, turned and fled," he says. Mr Karim says the streets of central Mumbai are now "incredibly quiet".

1025 The CNN-ibn television channel reports from one of Mumbai's railway stations that there are very few people out and about. One commuter said his train was virtually empty.

1015 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says that the Chinese government strongly condemns the attacks in Mumbai. "China always opposes terrorist attacks of any kind, and we express our condolences to the victims," he says.

1008 India's Times Now television channel reports a loud explosion outside the Oberoi hotel - the sixth in the last 35 minutes, it says.

Mark Dummet
1006The BBC's Mark Dummet says: Police seem to be taking a softly-softly approach, rather than charging in to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. That explains why it has taken so long to get through the hotel and why they have not cleared every corner.

1004: Jake Betts, a British lawyer who lives and works close to the Oberoi Trident hotel tells BBC World that the large number of foreigners working in Mumbai feel targeted. "At the moment we're just sitting tight in our flat, trying to stay safe because we're very close to everything. But when this all is over... we're definitely going to have to re-appraise [our situation]," he says.

1000 The director-general of the UK's Federation of Tour Operators says the "handful" of British nationals who had booked a holiday in Mumbai through its members had been accounted for and were safe.

0958 The Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament has been postponed in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, organisers say.

0955 India's NDTV is broadcasting live pictures of commandos taking position outside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Gunshots can be heard.

0950 India's Times Now television channel reports that at least five explosions have been heard at the Oberoi Trident hotel in quick succession in the past few minutes. It also says Indian navy helicopters, assisted by the coast guard, are chasing a trawler in the Arabian Sea that is believed to have transported the gunmen to Mumbai.

Mark Dummet
0943The BBC's Mark Dummet, speaking outside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, says: There have been two further explosions at the hotel, followed by a round of gunfire. Clearly the situation remains uncertain and remains dangerous.

0936 Bachi Karkaria, of the Times of India, tells the BBC that Mumbai has been "terribly shaken" by the attacks. "No-one is safe and nothing can be taken for granted," she says.

Bystanders duck as gunfire is heard at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel (27 November 2008)

0930 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expresses concern about the attacks in Mumbai. He says: "We are deeply concerned by these developments, deeply concerned by the potential impact on Indian citizens and other citizens, and we will have further to say about this during the course of the day."

0924 Security expert Rahul Roy Chaudhury, from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, tells the BBC that it could be some time before the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is given the all-clear. He says: "The security services will have to go from room-to-room to make sure the hotel is entirely free of terrorists," adding the gunmen could try to slip out among Indian nationals who had been taken hostage.

Mark Dummet
0920 The BBC's Mark Dummet, speaking outside the main entrance of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, says: I have seen armed soldiers leading out a dozen or so of the guests, one of the men being carried by a soldier to a series of ambulances which are lined up here. It would seem as if the siege here at the Taj Hotel is over.

0915 Indian security forces have surrounded two of the top hotels in Mumbai, the Oberoi Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace, which were taken over by gunmen who launched co-ordinated attacks in the city late on Wednesday that have so far left 101 people dead and 287 injured. Hostages are reported to have been taken in both hotels, and commandos have been brought in to try to regain control of the buildings. Officials say another eight locations were attacked, but these have now been secured. Four attackers have been killed and nine arrested, they add.

A little-known group calling itself the Deccan Mujahedeen has said it carried out the attacks. The claim was made in a series of e-mails sent to news organisations. Mumbai city officials have recommended residents stay indoors and the country's leading stock exchange has been closed for the day.

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