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Executive says Taj hotel warned of attack

Nov. 29, 2008 at 8:14 PM   |   Comments

MUMBAI, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The head of the firm that owns the Taj Mahal hotel told CNN the luxury hotel in Mumbai, India, was warned of a possible attack before terrorists struck.

In an interview to be aired Sunday, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata told the U.S. news network the hotel had taken additional security measures because of the warning, though security was relaxed shortly ahead of the attacks. Tata said the gunmen would have gotten inside no matter the precautions taken. He didn't detail when the warning came or when security was beefed up.

The Taj and eight other sites were attacked Wednesday. By the time the violence ended Saturday, scores were dead and hundreds more were wounded.

"If I look at what we had, which all of us complained about, it could not have stopped what took place," he told CNN. "It's ironic that we did have such a warning, and we did have some measures."

He said people were told to park away from the entrance and had to go through a metal detector. But he said the attackers came through a back entrance.

"They knew what they were doing, and they did not go through the front. All of our arrangements are in the front," he said.

Tata said he "wouldn't know" if the attackers had an inside connection, saying that "would be something that the investigation will show up."

But he called his staff heroes.

"The general manager lost his whole family in one of the fires in the building," Tata said.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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