*Rapidly changing situation, so nothing is staying all that currrent. It looks like there have been western hostages taken. Talk of the army coming in, police overwhelmed.*
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India’s financial capital, killing 16 people and wounding 90, officials and media reports said.
The Press Trust of India said at least 16 people were killed in the attacks that began late Wednesday and continued into Thursday morning.
Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said 90 people had been injured, but refused to say how many had died.
A.N. Roy, a senior police officer, said police continued to battle the gunmen.
“The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed, the encounters are still going on and we are trying to overpower them,” Roy said.
Gunmen opened fire on two of the city’s best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold’s restaurant, a Mumbai landmark.
The gunmen also attacked police headquarters in south Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place.
“We are under fire, there is shooting at the gate,” said constable A. Shetti by phone from police headquarters.
The motive for the attacks was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, including a series of blasts in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
“It was really scary. It was like the sound of loud crackers, not one but several, we just ran out of there,” said Janice Sequeira, a tourist who had been at a restaurant in the Taj Mahal Hotel.
Several European lawmakers were among those inside the hotel.
Sajjad Karim told Britain’s Press Association news agency that he and several other lawmakers were barricaded inside the Taj Mahal Hotel.
“I was in the lobby of the hotel when gunmen came in and people started running,” he told the Press Association by phone from the basement of the hotel.
“A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me. I managed to turn away and I ran into the hotel kitchen,” he said.
Karim was part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a forthcoming EU-India summit.
At the Oberoi, police officer P.I. Patil said shots had been fired inside and the hotel had been cordoned off. He would not give any other details.
The Press Trust of India news agency quoted Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A.K. Sharma as saying that several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up in the train station.
Leopold’s restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood stains on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.
At least 25 people had been brought to the G.T. Hospital near the shootings, said hospital official Yogesh Pandey.
Mumbai has been hit repeatedly by terror attacks since March 1993, when Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carried out a series of bombings on Mumbai’s stock exchange, trains, hotels and gas stations. Authorities say those attacks, which killed 257 people and wounded more than 1,100, were carried out to revenge the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots which had swept India.
Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in July 2007 a series of seven blasts ripped through railway trains and commuter rail stations. At least 187 died in those attacks.