Thursday, November 27, 2008
Two luxury hotels were attacked in Mumbai yesterday night. The Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi Trident hotels are two of the most famous hotels in the coastal city of 13 million people. Gunmen stormed the two five-star hotels demanding to know which guests had British or American passports which is a departure from previous attacks that did not target foreigners.
The Oberoi Trident Hotel has hosted such guests as Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and leaders of countries such as the United States, China, and Iceland. It is known for its personal butler service and sea-facing room views. A British diner in one of the hotel's three restaurants describes the scene:
They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: "Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said "fine" and they left him alone.
Rock star Prince's ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, was also at the Oberoi, saying, "We left everything behind, including purses and phones. There was a lot of panic." Between 100 and 200 hostages were being held in the Oberoi.
At the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, around 15 people were held. Legislators for the European Union-India summit were staying at the hotel at the time. One said, "A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me. I managed to turn away and I ran into the hotel kitchen." The hotel had previously housed guests like Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley, and Mick Jagger.
At the moment, 101 people are reported dead.
Taj Hotel Attack Video
Oberoi, Taj Mahal Mumbai Attack Photos
Taj Mahal Hotel Fire
Taj Guest Looks out Window
Police Stand Watch in Mumbai
Taj Fire Doused