Two days in and the terrorist standoff in Mumbai continues, although it appears Indian troops are getting ready for one, final clearing out of the Taj Hotel.
The above photo shows a chopper dropping two of about 20 commandos on the roof of Nariman House, where two gunmen were holed up with five hostages. While they killed the militants, sadly they found the bodies of the hostages, including a rabbi and his wife.
The situation has already been dubbed 'India's 9/11'. It's an apt moniker given that both were surprise attacks on a number of landmark locations, in areas that are highly photographed, visible and within easy reach of news cameras. Chatham House, a London think tank, issued a press release earlier today asking whether this latest event is another chapter in the age of celebrity terrorism.
And much like the Twin Towers became the most memorable target of the September 11 bombers, I predict the Taj Mahal hotel will in the same way become the central focus of this tragedy. It was, and no doubt will remain, a beautiful building, despite the battle scars it will sustain.
It's grimly amusing to see that even in the midst of battle, officers blanched at the damage being done to the icon:
"The officer who ran out of the Taj, carrying a pistol, said, "Now everything is burned. The stairs are burned. The woodwork is all spoiled." (Time)
Husband and I are still determined to go to Mumbai; we'll likely postpone our travel for a week and then head to another city for a bit to wait it out.