Captured terrorist says Israelis specifically targeted in Mumbai, six victims identified
The captured terrorist, Azam Amir Kasab told police his group was sent with a specific mission to target Israelis to avenge the Palestinians. That is why they targeted Nariman House (Chabad Center), the Times of India reports. Kasab said his comrades stayed there posing as Malaysian students.
Another victim of the Chabad Center massacre has been identified as Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinovitz, 50, from Mexico, who was due to immigrate to Israel and two of whose children already live there. Others are: the center’s director Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife Rivka, 26; Ms Yocheved Harpaz, 59, mother of four from Givatayim; Betzion Chroman, 28, father of three, who held dual US-Israeli citizenship, and Leibisch Teitelbaum, an American from Brooklyn. The Holzbergs’ two-year old son, Moshe, was brought to safety by his Indian nanny, Sandra.
The Chabad Center victims represent the largest group of foreign hostages murdered by the Islamist terrorists who held Mumbai to siege for more than 60 hours from Wednesday, Nov. 26.
A ZAKA emergency response team has been scouring Mumbai hospitals and morgues have found no more Israeli or Jewish victims. They were joined by forensic pathologists flown from Israel Sunday by an Israeli Air Force plane, along with defense experts and officials to arrange the return of the remains to Israel.
Chabad Center was seized together with two big hotels and attacks on other high-profile targets across the city.
The Indian government estimates that some 610 hostages were rescued at the ravaged Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace hotels and 174 were killed by the terrorists, most of them Indians
Indian fingers are pointing at Pakistan as investigators begin probing for the hand behind the uniquely pre-planned, orderly, commando-style assault by an estimated 30 terrorists.
Indian TV claims the gunmen traveled to Mumbai by sea from Karachi. A recurring name is that of Maulana Abdul Bari, an Indian based in Saudi Arabia, who is the suspected bankroller of the assault. The Foreign Office in London denies the “British connection” highlighted by UK media, some of which say seven of the terrorists were Pakistan British citizens.
All counter-terror agencies stress the importance of long and exhaustive reconnaissance by the attackers. Some suggest “advance control rooms” may have been set up at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels for prior reconnaissance and even to cache arms and ammunition.
Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak also estimated the assault was carried out by 30 gunmen working in groups of seven who were in touch with additional elements in the city and linked to a command base, possibly of al Qaeda, in neighboring countries. The FBI has sent a team to join the Indian probe. The US and Israeli governments stress the need for more global cooperation and intelligence-sharing to help predict where the Islamist terrorists will strike next.
Atrocities from the 60-hour ordeal began coming to light Friday night, when Israeli defense minister said in a Channel 1 TV interview that some of the bodies bore signs that they had been bound hand and foot and two Israeli women had been killed hours before the men. The dramatic Indian helicopter-borne commando raid of Chabad Center, which caters to Israeli and Jewish visitors to the city, failed to save anyone in the building.
In New York, Friday night, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky voiced the outrage of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and conveyed condolences to the families of everyone murdered in Mumbai. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the atrocity reminds us of how connected the world is in the face of terror.
Indian investigators are examining a satellite phone and GPS map recovered from a trawler, the Kubar, floating in the Arabian Sea. The crew was missing from the vessel except for its master whose body was found beheaded with bound limbs.