Bodies of Israeli rabbi, wife among five found in Nariman House

November 28th, 2008 - 11:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS) The bodies of an Israeli rabbi and his wife were among the five bodies found by Indian commandos at the Jewish centre of Nariman House here Friday evening after a fierce gunbattle with terrorists. The bodies were found by the National Security Guards (NSG) in the five-storeyed Nariman House or Chabad House Friday evening.

“Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory,” the Jewish site chabad.org news said.

The NSG commandos killed two terrorists, who had seized the building late Wednesday, after more than 45 hours of fierce gunbattle. They found the bodies of the hostages on the second and fourth floors of Nariman House. The terrorists had taken six people hostage.

“Jewish communities around the world reacted with shock to the loss of the couple, who were killed Thursday at their Chabad House during an apparent standoff between Indian military forces and terrorists,” the site said.

Their two-year-old son, Moshe, managed to escape with his nanny Friday morning.

“Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice-chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.

“As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists. Their Chabad House was popular among the local community, as well as with visiting businesspeople.”

“For five years, they ran a synagogue and Torah classes, and helped people dealing with drug addiction and poverty,” continued the statement. “Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched. We will continue the work they started.”

The Holtzbergs arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the small local Jewish community, visiting business people and the throngs of tourists, many of them Israeli, who annually travel to the seaside city.

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