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30 Nov, 2008 06:32

Indian minister resigns after Mumbai atrocity

The minister responsible security in India has resigned in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, saying he was ‘morally responsible’. Home Minister Shivraj Patil had been widely criticised in the media for failing to provide adequate security. Meanwhile,

The number of dead after a deadly 60-hour rampage by terrorists in Mumbai now stands at 195, several foreigners among them.

Police fear the death toll could rise. Up to 300 have been injured, the vast majority of them Indian citizens.

Mourners gathered for a candlelit vigil to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the violent rampage.

On Saturday police succeeded in recapturing the besieged Taj Mahal Palace hotel using a series of controlled explosions. A search is now under way for anyone who may still be trapped inside.

Authorities in India are pointing the finger at Pakistan as the likely source of the co-ordinated terror attack on Mumbai that lasted three days and left at least 195 people dead. Up to 300 have been injured, the vast majority of them Indians. Police say the only surviving militant had a Pakistani passport and told officers he had been trained in the Islamic republic.

Associated Press of Pakistan reports that the country’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said that Islamabad wants friendly relations with its neighbours. “We want peace, co-operation and friendship with our neighbours as it is in the best interest of the country,” he said talking to a private TV channel.

“During a meeting with the Indian Foreign Minister I said that Pakistan strongly condemns the terrorist act in Mumbai, has sympathy with the Indian government and is ready to extend its co-operation to probe the incident,” Mahmood Qureshi is quoted as saying.

He said he told the Indian Foreign Minister that Pakistan itself is the victim of terrorism and both the countries can jointly defeat the menace of terrorism.

He said the blame game will not help to resolve the problem of terrorism, and Pakistan and India should work together.

President Asif Ali Zardari offered full support to the Indian government in investigating the terrorist act in the Indian business capital.

On Friday masked Indian commandos launched a sustained operation at a Jewish centre in Mumbai where Muslim militants were holed up with hostages. Gunshots and explosions were heard as government forces cleared the building floor by floor.

Elsewhere in the city elite troops have cleared Muslim attackers from two luxury hotels. They had barricaded themselves inside with hostages for more than a day after a series of attacks had paralysed India’s financial capital.

Eyewitness accounts say the terrorists were looking for UK and U.S. passport holders. Russian media reports on Friday said all Russian citizens were released unharmed.

Meanwhile, Russia's counter terrorism presidential envoy, Anatoly Safonov, says the terrorists in Mumbai applied the same tactics used by Chechen militants, who raided Russian towns in the North Caucasus in the 1990s.

Problems of global terrorism

What happened in Mumbai has once again raised the issue of global terrorism and how to fight it. Attacks continue to be a regular occurrence in Israel and the Palestinian autonomy.

Mumbai terrorists used Chechen tactics
Indian commandos storm hotels in Mumbai
Terror attacks in Mumbai: eyewitness accounts
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address