The terrorists in the Mumbai attacks seem to be largely targeting foreign tourists. At the Taj Hotel, they reportedly segregated British and American citizens. Many foreign tourists were also trapped at the five star hotel Oberoi and the popular Café Leopold. At least six foreigners were killed, including a German.
Foreign nationals rescued from the site of the attack
A German television executive has reportedly been killed in the terror attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in southern Mumbai, one of the sites of the terror attacks. Ralph Burkei was director of programming at C.A.M.P TV, a private company in Munich. According to a local Munich newspaper, Burkei fell down from a hotel window while trying to escape, and died on the way to the hospital.
Another German national managed to escape from the hotel. In an interview with the German radio channel Bayrischer Rundfunk, the man said he had been trapped inside a room in the hotel for several hours before he managed to flee.
EU team stranded in Mumbai
A team of European Union Parliament members is also in Mumbai, and six of its members had been in the hotel at the time of the attack. Erika Mann, one of the parliamentarians from Germany said that the situation in the hotel had been very chaotic. She had heard explosions and gunfire outside the room where they had been trapped.
The EU team have now been brought to safety in the French consulate in Mumbai, says another German parliamentarian Daniel Caspary. Caspary said that some of the delegation members were not in the hotel when the attacks began, but they received calls from their colleagues.
‘’Some of our colleagues were even directly confronted with the terrorists. A British colleague of Indian origin looked directly in the eyes of one of the terrorists. He doesn’t know till now, why the terrorist didn’t pull the trigger, but instead fired his weapon in the other direction.’’
Assistance for EU citizens
Caspary said that there is now uncertainty about how the team will return back to their countries, since all the major European airlines like Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways have stopped their flights. ‘’We trust that the representatives of the Eropean Presidency think about how to get us back home,’’ says Caspary.
Meanwhile, the European Union has announced that it will coordinate medical and evacuation assistance for all European citizens in Mumbai. The interior ministers of the 27 member states said that Europeans seeking assistance to leave Mumbai could seek help at any EU nation consulate.
Germany condemns attacks
The attacks in Mumbai have been strongly condemned in Europe. ‘’They are horrible pictures, pictures of death and terror that have been reaching us from India since last night. I myself just returned from India on Saturday, and am very shocked about the attacks. At this time, our thoughts naturally are with the victims and their family members,’’ said German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier.
German chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the attacks and expressed her condolences in a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.