Mumbai: The luxury Taj Mahal hotel was cleared of terror threat late tonight after an unspecified number of them holed up in the iconic landmark were killed in a commando raid while a final assault on the besieged Trident Oberoi was underway, a day after the audacious terror strike in Mumbai in which the death toll rose to 127.
All but one of the terrorists holed up in Taj hotel were killed in encounter with National Security Guards (NSG) and Army, Military sources said. One terrorist was neutralised by crack commandos and is in an injured condition, according to NSG Director General J K Dutt said.
Late in the night, there was a major fire in the Trident (Oberoi) hotel where about 200 people have been trapped and terrorists exploded grenades that set the roof ablaze amid exchange of gunfire. Two terrorists are holed up in the 8th floor of the Oberoi hotel while in the Trident section the combing operation has been completed. There were reports that about 30 to 35 hotel guests were safely evacuated.
Dutt said it is a matter of time before the combing operation is overin hotel.
The other scene of action was at Nariman House, a Jewish residential complex, where some Israelis have been held hostage by some three-four terrorists. Combing operation in the building is in progress, Dutta said.
The hand of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba is suspected in the worst terror attacks in the country but the outfit denied any involvement.
Among the dead were six foreigners,14 police personnel, a home guard jawan and 104 members of the public including several staff of the two hotels. Of the 327 injured, police personnel accounted for 26 and foreigners seven.