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Caught in the crossfire, 9 foreign nationals killed

Australian, Japanese, British citizens among the victims

— Photo: AFP

END OF TRAUMA: Two foreign nationals come out of the Trident Hotel on Thursday after being caught inside for almost 24 hours.

Mumbai: Nine foreigners were killed and 11 injured in the multiple terror attacks here, hospital sources said on Thursday. The dead included an Australian, a Briton and a Japanese who have been identified with their nationality while four have been identified without nationality, they said. However, three others were yet to be identified, sources said.

The Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome said among the dead was an Italian national, identifying him as Antonio de Lorenzo.

All Italians who were in hotels or other areas attacked in Mumbai have been contacted “except for one or two people,” the country’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told a local TV channel.

Japanese national Tsuda, who was working with Mtsui Marubeni Liquefied Gas Co, died at a hospital after being shot in the leg, stomach and chest at the Trident hotel, the company’s vice-president Hajime Tamaki said in Tokyo. Another of its employees, 44, fell and suffered light injuries as he fled the scene, he said, without identifying the injured by name.

The Australian, Braid Gilbert Taylor (49) was brought dead to St. George Hospital in south Mumbai, sources added.

Among the 60 injured admitted to the Bombay Hospital, 11 foreigners were from different nationalities, Ashish Tiwari of the hospital said.

The injured foreigners are from Australia, U.S., Norway, Spain, Canada and Singapore.

Seven Britons injured

Seven British citizens were injured in the attacks, British High Commissioner in India Sir Richard Stag, said.

Britain would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with India in countering terrorism, he told reporters outside the Taj hotel. Sir Richard described the attacks as “appalling and unjustifiable.”

2 MEPs escape

A London report said two European Parliament members escaped indiscriminate terrorist firing at the Taj hotel, but their whereabouts were not known.

Conservative member Sajjad Karim and Erika Mann, a German Socialist, were part of a delegation of European parliamentarians from a trade committee staying in the Mumbai hotel for meetings ahead of an European Union-India summit.

Karim, 38, spoke to Sky News by mobile phone of his ordeal and attempts to hide from the terrorists in the basement of the hotel until his mobile phone battery ran out.

Mann, 57, was reportedly hiding in the hotel’s kitchen from where she told a colleague who called her on her mobile: “It is too dangerous to talk.”

Mr. Karim told Sky News that he and others had fled from machine-gun fire and had no idea why the hotel was targeted.

“I was in the lobby of the hotel when gunmen came in and people started running. There were about 25 or 30 of us. A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me. I managed to turn away and I ran into the hotel kitchen and then we were shunted into a restaurant in the basement. We are now in the dark in this room and we have barricaded all the doors. It’s really bad. There was a lot of commotion in the main lobby, and then another gunman came right in front of us and started shooting. I saw a number of people go down, but I was fortunate enough to get away.”

German killed

A German national has been confirmed killed and several injured in Mumbai, the Foreign Ministry said in Berlin.

“We have to assume that other Germans have been affected,” a spokeswoman said.

While the Ministry did not name the victim, a spokesman for a Munich-based firm called CAMP TV said the victim was its co-owner Ralph Burkei.

Munich newspaper Abendzeitung reported that 51-year-old Burkei fell from the Taj hotel while trying to escape and died on the way to hospital.

Russians safe

A Moscow report said that all its nationals staying in the Taj and the Trident were “safe.” Expressing Russia’s support, President Dmitry Medvedev “unconditionally” condemned the terror strikes as “heinous.”

The Foreign Ministry said the Russian Consulate-General was in close contact with the Indian authorities in Mumbai. A spokesperson for the Russian airlines Aeroflot Irina Dalenberg said that eight crew members staying in the Trident have been safely shifted to the Sheraton, while two airhostesses were safe in their rooms in the Trident as the authorities advised them to remain where they were.

French nuclear physicist M. George Vendryes, 88, and his wife, who were staying in the Taj, have been brought out safely, official sources said in Mumbai.

The scientist was in Mumbai to receive the Indian Nuclear Society’s Eminent Scientist Award and was staying at the five-star hotel, Department of Atomic Energy sources said.

A Warsaw report said a Polish citizen was holed up in the Trident, a Polish diplomat in India, Piotr Opalinski, told the Polish rolling news channel TVN24 over telephone.

An Ankara report said three Turks were holed up in their rooms in the Trident, the Anatolia news agency reported quoting the Turkish Ambassador to India.

“There were eight or nine Turkish citizens in the hotel, but most of them saved themselves and are now in a safe area in Mumbai,” Levent Bilman told the agency.

All Spanish nationals in Mumbai had been located, with about 20 having taken refuge inside the Spanish Consulate premises.

Pakistani cricketers Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir, who were to play for Rajasthan Royals in the Champions League Twenty20, are safe in their team hotel in Mumbai.

Both the players have told their relatives in Pakistan that they were out of harm’s way. “After hearing the news, my father called me and I told them I was safe,” Akmal said. — Agencies

Japan expresses solidarity

P.S. Suryanarayana reports from Singapore:

Countries across East Asia, especially those whose nationals were killed or wounded or trapped at the sites targeted by terrorists in Mumbai, have expressed solidarity with India and offered anti-terror cooperation. A Japanese businessman was killed on the spot and his associate wounded at a hotel as they were about to check in. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, expressing shock over the carnage, said Japan was “willing to work together with India” in taming terrorists.

Speaking immediately after news trickled in that two Australians were injured, Acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean, described the terrorist strikes as “an appalling assault on the people, and the stability and the democracy in India.”

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