Not all Chabad hostages killed by terrorists: Jerusalem Post

December 1st, 2008 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 1 (IANS) The commando raid on Mumbai’s Nariman House may have inadvertently ended the life of one of the hostages, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday, quoting the head of an Israeli emergency disaster team currently in the Indian city. Speaking by phone from Mumbai, Haim Weingarten, the head of the ZAKA team said: “Based on what I saw, (although) I can’t identify the type of bullets in the bodies (of the victims), I don’t think the terrorists killed all the hostages, to put it gently.”

The six Jewish and Israeli hostages found dead in the building, also known as Chabad House died from either gunshot wounds or shrapnel from grenade blasts, or both, Weingarten said, adding that he didn’t know who threw or fired the grenades that killed the hostages.

ZAKA, the acronym for the Hebrew Zihuy Korbanot Ason, or Disaster Victim Identification, is a series of voluntary community emergency response teams in Israel, each operating in a police district. It is recognised by the government.

Members of ZAKA, most of whom are Orthodox Jews, assist ambulance crews, aid in the identification of the victims of terrorism, road accidents and other disasters, and where necessary gather body parts and spilled blood for proper burial. They also provide first aid and rescue services, and help with the search for missing persons.

Weingarten said that although he lacked forensic tools to determine time of death, his team’s observations led him to believe that “some of the hostages were killed on Wednesday (when the gunmen first entered the building), some on Thursday, and some on Friday morning (during the start of the commando raid).”

Meanwhile, Col. Yossi Turgeman, the Israeli defence attaché in India, said that two Israelis announced missing by the foreign ministry were not among the dead, Israeli Army Radio reported Sunday evening.

Earlier Sunday, the foreign ministry had announced that the number of Israelis unaccounted for in Mumbai had dropped from four to two, after contact was made with two Israelis thought to be missing.

Speaking to the Post, a senior Indian counter-terrorism expert, who asked that his name be withheld, said it was possible that terrorists killed a number of hostages when they first entered the Chabad House.

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