World leaders are offering sympathy and support to India, as the death toll rises in Mumbai from the days-long terrorist siege. More than 140 people have been killed in the coordinated attacks that took place Wednesday night, including at least 16 foreigners.
Many of the hostages said the gunmen were specifically targeting those with American and European passports.Among the dead are citizens of Germany, Australia, Canada, Japan and France. U.S. officials have so far confirmed the deaths of five Americans, including an Israeli-born rabbi, raised in New York, who was killed when militants beseiged a Jewish center.
In a statement released late Friday, U.S. President George Bush offered his condolences and said the United States will continue to work with India and "cooperate against these extremists who offer nothing but violence and hopelessness."
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama also released a statement expressing sorrow for the victims. He noted that "these terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India's great democracy, nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them."
U.S. officials say both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama were being briefed regularly on the situation by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. State Department officials say Rice has also spoken with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and India's foreign minister.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has expressed sorrow for the victims, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai also phoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express his sympathy. An Afghan presidential spokesman, Sayamak Herawie said Mr. Karzai believes the terrorists are tied to militant groups who are continuously working to destabilize security in the region.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the European Union denounced the assaults. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said nothing can justify the violence, and called for swift justice against the perpetrators. At the Vatican, Pope Benedict pleaded for an end to all acts of terrorism.