A militant holed up inside Mumbai's Trident Hotel told reporters on Thursday that seven attackers were holding hostages inside the luxury establishment.
"There are seven of us inside hotel Oberoi (Trident)," the man identified as Sahadullah told reports. "We want all Mujahideens held in India released and only after that we will release the people."
"Release all the Mujahideens, and Muslims living in India should not be troubled," he said.
Fresh firing erupted early on Thursday in Taj hotel as commandos moved in to flush out terrorists holding some foreign hostages after a night of terror targeting ten places in Mumbai.
Army commandos moved into the luxury Trident and the Taj Mahal hotels to flush out terrorists holed up hours after an unspecified number of heavily armed gunmen went on a rampage in ten places in South Mumbai killing 101 persons and taking some foreign hostage.
Fire and smoke was seen billowing from the hotel as firemen struggled hard to rescue over 100 people still trapped inside.
Five suspected terrorists were killed in two separate incidents overnight including two during a gun battle in the country's iconic landmark Taj hotel, the police said.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister R R Patil said nine suspected terrorists have been arrested. Schools and colleges were ordered to be closed.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said five police officers including Anti Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare were killed in one of the worst terror strikes in the country's financial capital that in all claimed the lives of at least 11 police personnel.
"The operation (by security forces) is still going on," he said. Besides army commandos, naval commandos and Rapid Action force personnel joined in the operations to rescue those stranded in the two hotels. Five columns of Army and 200 NSG commandos have been rushed. Two sten guns have been recovered by police so far, he added.
Deshmukh said it was not immediately known how many terrorists were involved in the audacious attack in ten places that shook the western metropolis. The chief minister said the Taj and Trident are not in control yet. He said there are no terrorists in Cama hospital which was also targeted by gunmen.
The police reported that some hostages were still being held at the Taj Mahal and Trident with eyewitnesses saying the gunmen had targeted foreigners after they kept shouting: "Who has U.S. or UK passports?" Several guests were also stuck.
Fire was still raging in the old wing of Taj hotel several hours after it was rocked by five to six blasts and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the century-old edifice on Mumbai' s waterfront.
(Xinhua News Agency November 27, 2008)