Page 3 of 3   <      

Last Gunmen Killed in India, Ending Siege

After a wave of coordinated terrorist attacks turned parts of Mumbai's financial district into a combat zone, officials in New Delhi, India, and Islamabad, Pakistan, grapple with the political and diplomatic fallout of India's deadliest terror attack in 15 years.

"They were a very, very determined lot. They were moving from one place to the other," the commando said. "When we entered, there were three to four terrorists inside. Not everybody can fire AK-47 weapons like that. They were trained somewhere."

Police found backpacks at the Taj filled with rounds of ammunition and grenades, commandos said. In a room used by an attacker, police recovered credit cards from different banks and an identity card from Mauritius, an island nation off Africa's southeastern coast.

At least one commando was killed in the raid at Nariman House, the complex where the Chabad-Lubavitch center is situated. Before the raid, India's government blacked out all television news channels in Mumbai for nearly an hour, to prevent attackers from seeing coverage showing the positions of security forces.

Indian news agencies reported late Friday that Israel had criticized India's handling of the hostage crisis at Nariman House, after India spurned Israel's offer of military aid to help bring a quick end to the crisis.

By midday Friday, 98 people had been released from the Oberoi. Most looked tired after two sleepless nights barricaded behind locked doors as gunmen roamed the halls. The survivors were ushered onto air-conditioned tourist buses as police tried to hold back the scrum of reporters with video cameras.

Clutching luggage and cellphones, some peered through the bus's curtained windows. Several wept, tissues to their eyes. A man and a woman were bundled into a cab, each cradling a poodle.

Questions started to be raised about the failure to react swiftly enough, and many residents and opposition political leaders started to blame the government.

"The government has lost human lives here," said Raj Purohit, a local political opposition leader who was pacing at the site of the Nariman House. "It's a huge failure."

Lakshmi reported from New Delhi. Staff writer Debbi Wilgoren in Washington and special correspondent Karla Adam in London contributed to this report.

<          3

© 2008 The Washington Post Company