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INDIA TERRORISTS 'INCLUDED BRITS' Foreign Office probes shock claim The whole place fell apart, says wife of N-east man badly hurt.

CLAIMS that Britons were among the attackers in Mumbai were being investigated by the Foreign Office today.

As Indian troops cleared the last terrorists from buildings across Mumbai, UK authorities were following up reports on local news channel NDTV that the terrorists included "British citizens of Pakistani origin".

One Briton was confirmed to be among the 130 people killed when gunmen launched co-ordinated attacks on targets in central Mumbai, including two hotels and the railway station, on Wednesday.

Andreas Liveras, the founder of a luxury yacht business who was in his 70s, was pronounced dead at St George's Hospital in the city.

More than seven other Britons were among the 300 injured.

Retired teachers Diane and Michael Murphy, who live near Hexham, Northumberland, were on holiday and had only been in Mumbai for one day when the terrorists struck.

Mrs Murphy, 58, was shot in the foot and her husband, 59, took a bullet in the ribs when the terrorists stormed the Leopold Cafe.

Mr Murphy needed to have his spleen removed and remained in intensive care. His wife said: "All of a sudden there was automatic gunfire.

The whole place fell apart.

"It was tremendously loud.

Everybody was down on the ground. The gunfire stopped for a few seconds then started again.

"We had to wait - it seemed like an age - for the police to arrive. I stayed with my husband because I could tell he was seriously injured.

He was losing consciousness."

Commandos freed dozens of captives - including two Brits and another clutching a baby - fromthe Oberoi Hotel as they searched the building for attackers.

Brit Mark Abor locked himself in his room during the siege. He said: "These people here have been fantastic, the Indian authorities, the hotel staff. I think they are a great advertisement for their country."

Heavy gunfire was heard today as commandos were dropped by helicopter on to the roof of a Jewish centre where at least 10 hostages were believed to be held.

Reports of fresh firing outside the station this morning were denied by authorities. Security officials insisted their operations were almost over. But within an hour two loud explosions were heard at the Taj Mahal hotel, which authorities insisted was cleared of gunmen.

A group calling itself Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks. But experts had never heard of the organisation and suggested the radical Students Islamic Movement of India might have been behind the massacre.

The Foreign Office was warning against all but essential travel to Mumbai in light of the attacks.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called today for improved international action against terrorism.

He said as far as the Government was aware, there were no Britons still being held hostage.

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CAPTION(S):

SHOOTING ORDEAL: Injured Brit Michael Murphy, 59, left, and guards at a hotel window, above; MAJOR OPERATION: Security personnel take their positions outside the burning Taj Mahal Hotel, above, as a firefighter leads guests to safety out of a window, above right; RESCUE: Copters above the city and rescued westerners
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 28, 2008
Words:513
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