Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Black Cats

ב' כסלו תשס"ט
Shamash 3

In continuing follow-up to the rescue of the Mackoff family from Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the recent days of terror there, CNN reports on the rescue through eyes of the Black Cats, the commandos who carried out the rescue operations.

Inside the blacked out Taj Mahal Hotel, hallways were littered with bloodied bodies.

Thirty three hours after the assault began, Indian Army commandos decided it was time to go back in -- only to be met by terrorists firing mercilessly, throwing grenades and continuously switching positions.

The sound of gunfire ricocheted through the hotel's atrium, making it difficult to discern where shots were coming from.

Through it all, the commandos walked through pitch-black halls, trying to navigate the partially destroyed hotel without knowing the layout, according to a spokesman for the commandos.

At 6:30 a.m. local time Friday the battle with the terrorists at the Taj reached a head with a final firefight at the room where the 200 hostages were held captive, the commando, who was wearing a scarf and glasses to conceal his identity, said at a news conference.

When the gunfire ceased, commandos entered the room and freed all 200 hostages, he said.

The difficulties for the commandos -- known as the Black Cats -- were apparent from the beginning, he said.

"We did not know the layout of the hotel," the commando told reporters. "There was one person on the hotel staff who was helping to guide us around."

During the three-day assault, the attackers fired indiscriminately, but the commandos were forced to use caution.

"Let me tell you one thing," the commando said. "Within the first exchanges of fire, we could have got those terrorists but for -- there was so many hotel guests -- there were bodies all over and blood all over. And we were trying to avoid the causalities of civilians. We had to be more careful in our fighting."

Read entire article at link above.

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