Commandoes in ‘top-down’ operation to storm terrorist-held building

November 28th, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS) Indian commandoes conducted a “top-down” operation Thursday to slither down ropes from helicopters to the roof of a five-storey building in which terrorists have been holding an unspecified number of hostages for more than 36 hours, an official said.”We term it a ‘top-down’ operation. It requires a great deal of skill on the part of the helicopter pilot as he has to keep the machine steady at one spot to enable the commandos slither down,” Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesperson Wing Commander Mahesh Upasni said.

Travelling on two IAF Mi-8 helicopters, between eight to 10 National Security Guard (NSG) slid down to the roof of the Nariman House in south Mumbai, one of the three buildings along with the Taj hotel opposite Gateway of India and the Oberoi Trident the terrorists seized in coordinated attacks Wednesday.

“Due to the high voltage wires in the vicinity of the building, it becomes extremely difficult to manoeuvre and remain steady at one spot but the pilots managed this very well,” Upasni explained.

The commandoes would now switch to the “observe and fire” mode, defence analyst Mahroof Raza explained.

Assisting them in this would be other commandoes station on the rooftops on buildings around Nariman House.

Simultaneously, some 100 commandoes positioned on the roads around the building would attempt to make their way up the building to the third floor where the hostages are believed to be held.

Raza, however, refused to speculate on how long the operation would last.

“It’s a cat-and-mouse game and depends on how long it takes to wear down the terrorists,” he explained.

“Simultaneously, there would be utmost care to prevent collateral damage (ensuring the hostages are not harmed),” Raza added.

Nariman House is a Jewish religious and residential complex.

At least 125 people, including 14 policemen, have been killed and 327 injured in the terror strike

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