|Source: http://www.hurriyet.com.tr |
Mumbai troops storm last terrorist redoubt
More than 150 people have been killed since gunmen attacked 10 sites across India's financial capital starting Wednesday night, including 22 foreigners, officials said.
Early Friday night, Indian commandos emerged from a besieged Jewish center with rifles raised in an apparent sign of victory after a daylong siege that saw a team rappel from helicopters and a series of explosions and fire rock the building and blow gaping holes in the wall.
Inside, though, were five dead hostages. Also on Friday, a foundation in Virginia said two Americans who were in India as part of a meditation program killed in the terrorist attacks in India's financial city of Mumbai. Two French nationals were also killed in a series of attacks, according to French Foreign Ministry.
Indian security officials, meanwhile, said their operations were almost over. "It's just a matter of a few hours that we'll be able to wrap up things," The Associated Press news agency quoted Lt. Gen. N. Thamburaj as saying Friday morning.
As anger mounted, India blamed "elements" from Pakistan for the coordinated assault on its financial capital, which seemed designed to scare off foreign executives and tourists. Pakistan said the two countries faced a common enemy. Urging New Delhi not to play politics, it agreed to send its spy chief to share intelligence on the suicide attacks.
A day after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed "external forces" for the violence, India's foreign minister also pointed a finger on Friday at Pakistani-linked "elements" for the deadly attacks, as reported by Reuters news agency.
"Preliminary evidence, prima facie evidence, indicates elements with links to Pakistan are involved," Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told a news conference in New Delhi. He also urged Pakistan to dismantle the infrastructure that supports militants.
But Islamabad has denied involvement and condemned the attacks. Pakistani President Ali Asif Zardari telephoned Indian PM Singh on Friday to again condemn the attacks, saying "non-state actors" were responsible. Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also reminded Singh his country has been a victim of terrorism.
Meanwhile, the world's media said on Friday that the carnage wreaked by Islamic militants in Mumbai has cemented South Asia's status as the most dangerous place on earth, and urged New Delhi not to rush to blame Pakistan.
While domestic newspapers lashed the government over the intelligence lapses, which led to the attacks, the international press cautioned that any response must not further destabilize the region.
"The Terrorist Escalation," said the front-page headline of France's left-leaning Liberation, whose editorial spoke of "an arc of crisis that stretches across South Asia, the most dangerous region in the world."
Britain's left-leaning Guardian newspaper said the attacks must not derail recent moves to put troubled Indian-Pakistan ties back on track.
India's newspapers meanwhile focused on the failures, which allowed the militants to strike at the heart of the country's financial capital without warning. The Mail Today said "the country's intelligence agencies had no clue of the impending attack" despite huge spending on anti-terror measures.
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