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'Terrorists showed no remorse; I saw 50 bodies'

November 28, 2008 17:58 IST

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The terrorists who struck at Taj Mahal hotel [Images] operated with ease and showed no remorse and fired at anyone who moved, a top marine commando said, adding he saw 12 to 15 dead bodies in a single room at the luxury premises.

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Giving an account of the commando raid at the besieged Taj, the leader of Indian Navy's elite Marine Commandos (MARCOS) on Friday said his team saw about 50 dead bodies scattered through the hotel during the flush out operation.

"12 to 15 dead bodies" were seen in one single room, he said.

"They were the kind of people with no remorse -- anybody and whomsoever came in front of them they fired," the unidentified masked commando whose face was disguised in a black scarf and sunglasses told media persons.

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The account by the commando, who battled terrorists room by room in the hotel, was the first of the fighting to be given by a member of the elite operations unit since their operations began in the wee hours of Thursday.

A Mauritius national's identity card was recovered from the rucksack of a terrorist who escaped from a hotel room, he said, adding the recovered rucksack also contained Chinese made hand grenades, seven ammunition magazines, 400 spare rounds of ammunition, seven credit cards of different banks, dry rations and $1,200 and Rs 6,840.

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He said the commandos had been hampered by not knowing the layout of the 400 rooms in the hotel and that the exchanges of fire had taken place in darkness.

But, he said the terrorists who were hurling grenades and firing from different floors and could not be seen because of the darkness and were 'operating with ease'.

Indicating that the terrorists had done a recce of the targeted landmarks before their attack, the MARCOS leader said it was because of their knowledge of the building that the terrorists were able to strike at will.

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The commando said the assault team had noticed only three to four terrorists, who were probably operating from different floors, as they were very well versed with the topography of the Taj hotel, where they were holed up for nearly 40 hours.

He said the commandos could have got the terrorists but for the presence of many guests.

"The bodies were lying strewn here and there. There was blood all over and in trying to avoid the casualty of those civilians, we had to be that much more careful," he said.

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The guerrillas would have needed training to fire the weapons they used, he said, adding, "Definitely, it appears not everybody can fire the AK series of weapons."

AK-47 rifles were among the weapons used by the terrorists.

Describing the physique of terrorists, the MARCOS leader said they were not of a 'big built' and were below 30 years of age.

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"They were wearing T-shirts and looked to be below 30 years and were of normal built," he said.

The MARCOS leader said the team had to face a problem in dealing with the terrorists inside the hotel as they did not know much about the building and had to take the help of the hotel staff to operate there.

"We had to find our way out as we did not know the layout of Taj. The hotel staff helped us to find our way inside there," he said.

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