Shock in Israel over attack on Mumbai Jewish centre

November 30th, 2008 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Nov 30 (DPA) There was still shock in Israel Sunday four days after the attack on Nariman House, a Jewish religious centre in the Indian city Mumbai.According to Israel radio, three of the nine bodies found in the centre have not been positively identified. The Israeli foreign ministry confirmed that Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, who led the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement in the Indian commercial capital, and his wife Rivka were among the dead.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that other victims identified included Rabbi Arieh Leib Teitelboim, Israeli citizen Yokheved Orpas, and US citizen Ben-Zion Kruman.

A team of experts from Israel has been sent to Mumbai to aid with identification of the three remaining bodies. It is thought that the three could have been Israeli travellers that had little contact with their families.

Nariman House was targeted by suspected Islamist militants on Wednesday as part of a series of attacks on Mumbai that killed at least 183 people.

Azam Amir Kasab, 21, the only terrorist captured by Indian security agencies after the Mumbai siege, said that their mission specifically targeted Israelis to avenge “atrocities” against Palestinians.

Investigators have told the NDTV network that Kasab, a Pakistani national, had admitted he was a member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant organization headquartered in Pakistan.

Sources also said that Kasab’s colleagues killed in the operation had stayed in the Nariman House earlier.

“They have stayed in the Nariman House on rental basis identifying themselves as Malaysian students,” it said.

The police were trying to find out how Nariman House rooms were given to non-Jews. The police also took all the record books for their investigation.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai tragedy featured prominently in the Israeli media, with Israeli newspapers carrying bloody pictures of the Nariman House and descriptions of the condition in which the sometimes bound victims’ bodies were found.

The fate of the late rabbi’s two-year-old son Moshe was also of special concern. The child was rescued at the time of the attacks by his nanny Sandra. According to media reports, there are now efforts to bring both Moshe and his nanny back to his parents’ family in Israel.

In reaction to the attack, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Sunday urged joint action against terrorism, saying her country was on “the front line”.

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