Israel buries six victims of Mumbai terror attack (Roundup)

December 3rd, 2008 - 12:03 am ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Dec 2 (DPA) Thousands of Israelis Tuesday bade farewell to six Jews killed in Mumbai’s terror attacks.The bodies of the couple who ran the Jewish centre of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement which was attacked in the Indian financial hub, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, an American Israeli and his Israeli wife Rivka, were taken in a funeral procession from Chabad village, east of Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

Four others were also buried in Jerusalem and near Tel Aviv.

An Israel Air Force plane earlier carried the bodies, as well as a surviving toddler, to Israel, landing at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv late Monday.

A short ceremony, including a Jewish prayer for the dead, was held at the airport before the bodies were transported to Israel’s Abu Kabir pathological centre for final identification.

Four of the coffins were wrapped in Israeli flags and two in Jewish prayer shawls, as four of the victims had Israeli citizenship while the remaining two did not. They were an American Jew who lived in Jerusalem, and a Mexican Jew whose family lives in Israel and who had planned to immigrate to the country as well.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, a Chabad official from New York, said the Jewish centre in Mumbai’s Nariman House would be rebuilt and named after the Holtzbergs.

Turning to the couple’s two-year-old son Moishe, who survived the onslaught and was rescued by his Indian nanny, Kotlarsky said: “Moishe, you have no mom and dad who will take you in their arms. You have no one to hold and kiss you. You will be the child of all of Israel.”

The boy’s nanny, Sandra Samual, had rushed upstairs, grabbed the boy and run out the building after hiding for more than 12 hours in the downstairs storage room.

She recounted that despite the gunfire and explosions she heard, she decided to risk coming out of her hiding place after she heard the boy, whom she had put to bed early the previous evening, crying out for her. She found him standing next to the motionless and blood-soaked bodies of his parents, both in their late 20s.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, who attended the service along with lawmakers, Israel’s chief rabbis and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, urged the world to combat global terrorism.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews clad in black also packed Jerusalem’s religious Mea Shearim neighbourhood to pay their respect to US citizen Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, a kosher food supervisor in his late 30s who was in Nariman House at the time of the attack.

Three more funeral services were held in the towns of Bnei Brak and Petah Tikwa, east of Tel Aviv, and at the Yarkon cemetery, north of the city.

At least 10 heavily armed men, who are believed to have reached Mumbai by boat, attacked the city during three days of terror that ended Saturday, targeting two five-star hotels, a railway station, the Jewish centre, a hospital and other targets. Some 183 people were killed and 239 others injured in the attacks.

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