Sunday, November 30, 2008
Barak is a first-class bafoon.
He doesn’t get it. He just doesn’t get it.
The Peace House in Hevron is not a “place” it is a symbol. It has been chosen to be the showdown, the red line in the sand, the OK Corral of Israeli Nationalism.
For him to ask activists to refrain from getting involved is just silly. What is even sillier is that he keeps up the lie that the Supreme Court “ordered” the evacuation—when, in fact, they did nothing of the sort. They “allowed” an evacuation if the state wills it, but they did not ORDER an evacuation.
So, why does the state want to evacuate the Peace House? Because it will bring the left votes, of course. Or, at least, last week it would have brought them votes. In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, when the country is raw with sadness and anger about the slaughter of innocents who were singled out for no other reason than they were Jews, I think Barak will find a considerable amount of blowback.
If anything, his publicity stunt of going in and forcing Jews from their home will bring the right votes, not the left.
I have no idea why Barak has survived in politics up to this point. It is clear he has no political sense. In fact, it appears he has no sense at all.
Barak to right-wing leaders: Avoid clashes over Hebron house
Defense minister meets settler representatives, asks them to refrain from clashing with security forces carrying out High Court order to evacuate disputed house in West Bank city; promises them IDF will protect house from Palestinian squatters (yeah, right! . . . And if you believe that, I have a nice quiet home in Sderot I would like to sell you . . . )
Published: 11.30.08, 18:42 / Israel News
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with representatives of right-wing groups and settlers last Thursday, in a meeting initiated by Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union-NRP), Ynet discovered Sunday evening.
Barak asked the settlers to refrain from clashing with security forces and, instead, to leave the disputed house in Hebron as per a recent Israel High Court of Justice decision. The ruling increased tensions in the city in recent days, as additional families moved into the house.
House in Hebron
The defense minister promised that the IDF would protect the house in order to prevent Palestinians from squatting there until the debated issue of the home's ownership is established by a court of law.
At the meeting, which lasted 40 minutes, settler representatives asked Barak to advance the issue of delaying the eviction of the house until a new government is established.
Nonetheless, MK Ariel said that the settlers are interested in seeing the issue resolved quickly, and hope that the current government will decide that the current Jewish residents of the home will not need to abandon it.
Another representative of the settlers said the focus of the meeting was to prevent needless conflict between the IDF and the settlers. "The eviction in Amona created unnecessary tension and great harm to the government," he said. "We must prevent use of force and occurrences that we have seen in the past."
Sources close to Barak stated that no mutual understandings were reached regarding the disputed house, but added that "no one is interested in this becoming a violent or problematic issue."
"It's important to continue the dialogue, but it's also important to remember that there is a court order and it is binding."
Meanwhile, incidents surrounding the disputed house continue. Sunday afternoon, Hebron police detained two youths suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians near the disputed residence, while Saturday night, three right-wing activists punctured the tires of a Border Guard patrol car in the area.
These brutal murderers should not receive one moment of compassion from any of us. They destroyed lives. They killed. They orphaned. They terrorized. For what? Because of some mythic concept of "Jihad" they carry in their evil hearts and in the evil hearts of those who trained, equipped, and prepared these young men for such an evil deed?
This terrorist is crying for his life. Did he show compassion for those who cried for theirs? Did he think about the people he killed as fellow human beings, or some sort of sub-human he could destroy because he was somehow superior? If he is showed compassion, do you think he would take that as a sign that we care, or a sign that we are weak and deserve death?
I bet the second option is more true than the first.
Kindness is not compassion in their world. Kindness is an admission of weakness and proof that we are lesser human beings than these young men and their handlers who think they they deserve to judge all humanity as if they are G-d.
Crazies from other websites have tried to leave comments on my blog about how the "mossad" or the "CIA" are responsible for the carnage, and that the mossad and the CIA are just trying to make people hate the muslims and believe the muslims are murderers and terrorists. I was peppered with at least twenty comments of this sort in the first day of the terror attacks. One of my fellow bloggers discussed this issue, and the fact that a rumor about the mossad was circulating on the internet.
Believe me, the mossad and the CIA can't do as much damage to the the image of muslims as the muslims themselves are doing in almost every corner of the globe. Why would the mossad and/or the CIA bother wasting time, equipment and manpower on something that is already established by the muslims themselves?
If muslims really cared about the image of their "religion of peace," then they would be out there, big time, repudiating terrorism in all its forms. There would be a mass appeal to the youth to stop the violence, to teach them about the "real message" of Islam. There would be public service announcements, massive donation drives, new educational incentives, and strong public outcry against the terrorism of muslim youth. Muslim countries would spearhead anti-terror programs in their schools, Imams would be on Fox News and CNN talking about how they had gotten the most prominent educational psychologists and most important leaders of Islam to help in the effort. There would be feature stories on PBS about how the countries were turning around the violence.
But this is not what is happening. This is not going to happen.
Instead, their blogs celebrate the attacks of innocent civilians, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, little children.
What do I hear? What words of solace or sadness or embarrassment or rebuke or repudiation do I hear from the muslim world?
It is the sound of silence.
Stop hatching conspiracies where there are no conspiracies and start facing the fact: we are in a religious war with radical muslims who want to kill us.
They only ones they hate more than non-muslims are muslims who don't follow whatever strange radicalization the terrorists have adopted on daily basis.
Either there is a massive outreach campaign by muslims who don't follow the credo of extremism before it is too late, or they, like the rest of us, will find themselves painted into the corner of muslim extremism on one side and anti-muslim hatred on the other.
There is no room for hiding one's head in the sand. This is a time that calls for action.
And, as for this young man who murdered innocent people in the street, I must share a piece of Jewish wisdom:
R’ Elazar said:
to the cruel
will ultimately become cruel
to the compassionate
the wicked and calculating person (who killed intentionally and was sentenced to death) – if he seeks sanctuary among us, we must not provide him with asylum and not have mercy upon him...because compassion towards the wicked – is cruelty to all beings.
EVIL TERROR THUG: 'DON'T WANT TO DIE'
MUMBAI MASS KILLER TURNS COWARD
November 30, 2008
The sole surviving terror suspect in the Mumbai massacre cowardly begged to live as he lay in police custody suffering from gunshot wounds, according to a published report.
"I don't want to die. Put me on saline," gunman Azam Amir Kasab pleaded in a hospital after seeing the mutilated corpse of another terrorist being wheeled to the morgue, according to Britain's Sunday Mirror.
MORE: India Terror Timeline
Kasab, 21, reportedly confessed he was one of just 10 terrorists armed with AK-47s, grenades, GPS devices and BlackBerrys who were instructed by their commanders to "kill until [their] last breath."
Their 60-hour siege claimed at least 174 lives - including five Americans. Casualties are expected to exceed 300 once the final searches of the Taj Mahal hotel are completed, London's Daily Mail reported.
The captured terrorist also admitted to interrogators that his bloodthirsty band trained at two terror camps and were aided by one of Interpol's most wanted criminals, Dawood Ibrahim, according to IBN, a CNN affiliate in India.
Preparations for the attacks - in which the terrorists hoped to kill 5,000 - started over a year ago, according to London's Telegraph and the Mail.
The baby-faced gunman confessed the savage siege was hatched in terror camps based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a conflict-prone region next to India, IBN reported. The Mumbai terrorists were reportedly instructed to kill indiscriminately - not just Westerners.
An advance team of terrorists came to Mumbai a month earlier to scout the location, take photos and make detailed maps, according to The Mirror.
The gunmen's journey to India reportedly began in Karachi, Pakistan, on a merchant vessel owned by Ibrahim, a Mumbai mobster who is on Forbes' list of the 10 most-wanted criminals and has a history of terror links.
At some point during their high-seas voyage, the Mumbai gunmen changed boats by hijacking an Indian fishing trawler, and then killed its five-member crew.
The Indian Navy found the trawler Friday with the skipper decapitated and his hands bound behind his back. Authorities said they recovered satellite phones from the vessel and showed a phone log of calls made to Pakistan and Jalalabad, a border city in Afghanistan.
The terrorists struck 10 targets in the heart of Mumbai, including two five-star hotels - the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi - and a Jewish center led by a rabbi from Brooklyn.
Kasab and another terrorist allegedly began the killing spree at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station. A photo taken captures Kasab smiling as he wields his AK-47.
Authorities said he and his accomplice were responsible for the deaths of three high-ranking police officials, including the head of the anti-terror squad.
Kasab was captured while trying to flee in a car he seized from its driver, according to local reports, and was reportedly shot in an ensuing gunfight. Now authorities have him under suicide watch while he's being interrogated by Indian, US and British authorities.
The carnage ended early yesterday as Indian commandos hunted and killed three terrorists holed up inside the Taj, ending the three-day rampage.
But commandos were still going through rooms at the historic hotel, checking for any remaining gunmen and freeing hostages hiding on upper floors.
Pakistan's president has pledged his assistance to India and insisted his government had no part in the attacks.
But Ibrahim is believed to be hiding out in Karachi, Pakistan. He's also believed to have ties to Pakistan's intelligence agency, as well as to al Qaeda.
With Post Wire Services
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Some information on the other victims of the Chabad house attack. All good people, doing regular things, stopping to pray, to study, to connect with other Jews in a foreign land.
We can never know what moment Hashm will decide is our last. We never know what fate awaits us each day. All the more reason to live life to the fullest and stop letting fear control your life. You can be the most careful person in the world, and you will not escape your moment. I would rather know my days were fulfilling, were dedicated to goodness, and were a testament to Hashm.
A [good] name is better than good oil,
and the day of death greater than the day of one's birth.
UPDATE: IF YOU WANT TO HELP THE FAMILY OF BENTZION CHROMAN, PLEASE GO TO TO A WEBSITE SET UP IN HIS NAME AT http://www.krumanfoundation.org/
'His prayer book was open'
Latest Update: 11.29.08, 21:47 / Israel News
Brother of Mumbai terror victim Bentzion Chroman says he was murdered after stopping to pray at Chabad House; Friends who found him said his prayer book was still open, says brother. Yocheved Orpaz's sister: She was a good fairy
The Foreign Ministry told Ynet Saturday evening that up to nine bodies were found at the site, including six that were already identified. An Israeli forensic team may head to India in order to assist teams at the scene in identifying more victims.
Meanwhile, numerous friends and relatives gathered in Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv, Saturday night at the home of Bentzion Chroman, 28, murdered in the terror attack at Chabad's Mumbai offices. He is survived by his wife and three children, aged five, two, and two months.
Chroman was sent to Mumbai to serve as a kashrut observer, and his brother said he stopped at the Chabad House for prayer.
"Friends who found him told me his prayer book was still open," Chroman's brother told Ynet. "He was sent to India on a one-time trip. He was supposed to fly two weeks before that but the trip was delayed because of visa requirements."
'He was a good man'
Meanwhile, friends and relatives are mourning the death of Yocheved Orpaz, also killed at the Chabad House. Her sister, Orly, told Ynet that Yocheved traveled to India to visit her daughter and two grandchildren who were traveling there.
"She was an amazing and noble woman, a good fairy and a mother of four," Orly said. "She loved to travel. We were waiting for a miracle. We spent Shabbat together, until the bad news arrived."
Leibish Teitlebaum, another terror victim at the Chabad House, resided in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood, and traveled to India as a kashrut supervisor. His close friend, Yoel Steinmetz, told Ynet: "He was always upbeat, even when bad things would happen…he would welcome everyone happily, host guys that arrived from abroad for Shabbat, feed them, and bring everyone closer. He was a good man."
"We would regularly see him talking to poor people and encouraging them," Steinmetz said. "I loved him very much…last night already I had a bad feeling that there was no chance he was alive."
Even in his last moments, facing the threat of death, overcome with sadness, Rabbi Holtzberg's actions were directed toward the proper treatment of his wife, even in death.
This is above and beyond, and speaks of a great love--not only of his wife, but of Hashm, Whose beautiful creation, his dear wife Rivka, had been destroyed by the senseless brutality of those whose heinous acts were witness to the depravity of their lives and their souls (may their names be forgotten and never spoken again!)
Rabbi Holtzberg and Rabbi Teitelbaum were slumped over Gemora Brochos, dedicated to the last moment of their lives to the works of our Sages and the Laws of Torah. Their lives and their deaths a testament to Hashm.
We do not know the evil that happened in that house by those who came to kill, but we do know the goodness of those whose lives were surrendered to G-d during that siege.
May Hashm bless the families of these victims and the Zaka volunteers and their families for their respectful and difficult work they do every day in the name of Hashm.
If you want more details, there is no better coverage than that of Yeshiva World. I have to thank that blog for the amazing coverage throughout this crisis and for their compassionate coverage of the aftermath.
If you are considering a donation, please remember Zaka as well as Chabad. Also, if you would like to help the family of Bentzion Chomron, please go to http://www.krumanfoundation.org/
Rabbi Covered Wife's Body with a Tallit Before He was Killed
by Gil Ronen
(IsraelNN.com) Details of the tragic aftermath of the terrorist massacre in Mumbai's Chabad House have become available.
WARNING: some readers may find the descriptions disturbing.
The bodies of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and kashrus inspector Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, were found in the Mumbai Chabad House library, with holy books in front of them. According to ZAKA emergency service, the body of the Rabbi's wife Rivka was found covered with a tallit, which her husband had managed to cover her with.
The bodies of the two other women who were killed along with Rivka Holtzberg were found tied with telephone cables. The women had apparently been bound before they were killed.
"After security forces completed the takeover of the Chabad House, ZAKA volunteers undertook the task of locating and extricating the bodies of the missing," ZAKA announced. "Six bodies were located and extricated during the course of the Sabbath. The operation was undertaken among the ruins despite risk of life, and the danger from exposed grenades," the hareidi-run group said.
ZAKA emissaries reportedly struggled through the Sabbath to prevent the bodies of the Jewish victims from being taken by local authorities for autopsies.
***UPDATE (8:24 EST Saturday) India to Forgo Autopsies of Israelis, Jewish Victims ***
The sole terrorist who survived the Mumbai attacks told police that the attack on Chabad House was part of the squads' original plan. The terrorists planned to take hostages from the hotels and Chabad House and then use them to bargain for safe passage out of Mumbai, according to the Times of India.
Israeli pathologist being sent
Israeli officials said Saturday night that it appeared that Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were killed during the first hours of the takeover of Beit Chabad by terrorists.
Voice of Israel Radio reported that nine bodies were found in Mumbai's Chabad House, and apparently seven were Israeli. Three have not yet been identified. Israel is sending a forensic pathology specialist to Mumbai to assist in the identification.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Those Jews Killed in Terror in Mumbai Were Good People, Did Good Work. Remember Them With Goodness. Shabbat Shalom.
As I leave my blogging in anticipation of preparing for Shabbat, my mind is upon the lives lost senselessly in the Mumbai Terrorist attack.
In last week's Parasha, we have the image of Avraham and Sarah providing for the needs of those around them. Avraham and Sarah's home was an outpost of dignity and warmth in the world. a home where everyone was welcome, a home where hospitality was so important and so part of every-day life that when three angels came to visit, Abraham didn't even blink an eye. He and his wife ran to provide them the best of everything they had.
Most Chabad houses seem to be based upon the same concept of welcome that were Abraham and Sarah's home. They welcome those who are in a hostile world to an island of Jewish warmth and hospitality. I hear that the Chabad Rabbi in Mumbai and his wife, Rivka, were very popular--not only among the Jews of Mumbai, but also among their neighbors. They were living a life of service to the ideas of Torah and of Hashm before they were senslessly slaughtered by terrorist thugs.
So, as I work on making Shabbat for my family and for those guests we will have, I think upon the fact that everyone who will sit down to eat a Shabbat meal tonight, who will keep Shabbat, who will pray and celebrate, will be honoring the memory of these brave and welcoming people.
Shabbat Shalom. May we all conduct our lives as if today is our last. May we all welcome those who are in need. May we all say kind words to one another.
For Shabbat, at least, do not dwell on the evil. Dwell upon the good.
Nov 28, 2008 20:50 | Updated Nov 28, 2008 20:52
'They made the ultimate sacrifice'
Nov 28, 2008 20:50 | Updated Nov 28, 2008 20:52
'They made the ultimate sacrifice'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
"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 news of the young couples' murder at the hands of terrorists clarified from a pessimistic assessment to a bitter reality.
"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," Kotlarsky was quoted on the Chabad Website as saying.
At a press conference in the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn, a visibly grief stricken Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of the Educational and Social Services arms of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement, eulogized the Holtzbergs, describing their charitable work as "selfless" and describing the young couple as "two of our finest."
The couple leaves behind a single baby boy, Moishe, who will be marking his second birthday on Saturday, as an orphan.
Fox News just reported that the State Department has confirmed five dead at the Chabad House, may their families and friends be comforted by Hashm.
We prayed for their welfare. We prayed for the families. We prayed for the victims. We must continue to pray as we prepare to mourn the lost members of Benei Yisrael.
As we mourn the dead, we must also remember that we must celebrate the Mercy of
Hashm in restoring their child to his family.
Pray for the strength of the families in their saddness.
Pray that the remaining son grow strong in the arms of his family, may he go from strength to strength-- from his first haircut to his first day of school, from his Bar Mitzvah to his Chuppah--and may he remember his parents' service to Hashm. In drawing close to Torah, he will draw close to them.
He is a special child, blessed with life.
Urgent: 5 Hostages Reported Dead Inside Mumbai Jewish Center; Fierce Gunfight at Taj Hotel
Friday, November 28, 2008
DEVELOPING: An Israeli diplomat in Mumbai says there are no survivors inside an religious center run by an ultra-orthodox Jewish group.
The envoy told FOX News that five hostages are dead inside the building.
A rescue service run by Orthodox Jews says staff members sent to Mumbai to help at the siege of the Chabad Lubavich Center also are reporting the hostages inside are dead.
"Apparently the hostages did not remain alive," the Zaka service said in a brief statement quoting its staff in Mumbai. It did identify the hostages nor say how many may have died. A Brooklyn, N.Y.- born rabbi and his wife had been believed to be held hostage.
The Zaka reportedly were allowed to enter the center as part of their role in preparing orthodox Jewish bodies for immediate burial.
Police at the scene said at least two gunmen inside the center were killed.
There were no reports yet of police casualties in the siege.
Israel's ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, said they believed there were up to nine hostages inside. Sofer denied reports that Israeli commandos were taking part in the operation.
Meanwhile, a firefight between commandos and the remaining gunmen inside the Taj Mahal hotel intensified as the last of the hostages there were rescued.
Persistent gunfire and half a dozen grenade explosions could be heard from outside the hotel, according to a FOXNews.com reporter in Mumbai, who said fires also had broken out inside the building.
Sources told a FOXNews.com reporter in Mumbai that commando units were engaging at least one gunman on the floor above the main lobby. All of the hostages that had been held in the hotel were rescued, police officials said.
Indian officials, meanwhile, declared the nearby Oberoi hotel to be secure, and all hostages freed.
"The hotel is under our control," J.K. Dutt, director general of India's elite National Security Guard commando unit, told reporters, adding that 24 bodies had been found. Dozens of people — including a man clutching a baby — had been evacuated from Oberoi earlier Friday.
More than 143 people were killed and 288 injured when suspected Islamic militants attacked 10 sites in Mumbai starting Wednesday evening.
At least eight foreigners are known to have been killed so far and 22 more have been injured, said top security official M.L. Kumawat. The dead include three Germans, and one person each from Japan, Canada, Britain and Australia. The nationality of one more victim is unknown.
The injured include five from Britain, three Germans, two Americans, two from Oman and one each from Norway, Spain, Canada, Finland, Philippines, Australia, Italy and China. Two more were unknown.
Security officials said their operations were almost over.
"It's just a matter of a few hours that we'll be able to wrap up things," Lt. Gen. N. Thamburaj told reporters Friday morning.
The group rescued from the Oberoi, many holding passports, included at least two Americans, a Briton, two Japanese nationals and several Indians. Some carried luggage with Canadian flags. One man in a chef's uniform was holding a small baby. About 20 airline crew members were freed, including staff from Lufthansa and Air France.
"I'm going home, I'm going to see my wife," said Mark Abell, with a huge smile on his face after emerging from the hotel.
Abell, from Britain, had locked himself in his room during the siege. "These people here have been fantastic, the Indian authorities, the hotel staff. I think they are a great advertisement for their country," he said as security officials pulled him away.
The well-coordinated strikes by small bands of gunmen starting Wednesday night left the city shell-shocked.
Late Thursday, after about 400 people had been brought out of the Taj hotel, officials said it had been cleared of gunmen. But Friday morning, army commanders said that while three gunmen had been killed, two to three more were still inside with about 15 civilians.
A few hours after that, Thamburaj, the security official, said at least one gunman was still alive inside the hotel and had cut of electricity on the floor where he was hiding. Shortly after that announcement, another round of explosions and gunfire were heard coming from the hotel.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed "external forces" for the violence — a phrase sometimes used to refer to Pakistani militants, whom Indian authorities often blame for attacks.
On Friday, India's foreign minister ratcheted up the accusations over the attacks.
"According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible for Mumbai terror attacks," Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in the western city of Jodhpur.
"Proof cannot be disclosed at this time," he said, adding that Pakistan had assured New Delhi it would not allow its territory to be used for attacks against India. India has long accused Islamabad of allowing militant Muslim groups, particularly those fighting in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, to train and take shelter in Pakistan. Mukherjee's carefully phrased comments appeared to indicate he was accusing Pakistan-based groups of staging the attack, and not Pakistan itself.
Islamabad has long denied those accusations.
Earlier Friday, Pakistan's Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, in Islamabad, denied involvement by his country: "I will say in very categoric terms that Pakistan is not involved in these gory incidents."
The gunmen were well-prepared, apparently scouting some targets ahead of time and carrying large bags of almonds to keep up their energy.
"It's obvious they were trained somewhere ... Not everyone can handle the AK series of weapons or throw grenades like that," an unidentified member of India's Marine Commando unit told reporters, his face wrapped in a black mask. He said the men were "very determined and remorseless" and ready for a long siege. One backpack they found had 400 rounds of ammunition inside.
He said the Taj was filled with terrified civilians, making it very difficult for the commandos to fire on the gunmen.
"To try and avoid civilian casualties we had to be so much more careful," he said, adding that hotel was a grim sight. "Bodies were strewn all over the place, and there was blood everywhere."
A U.S. investigative team was heading to Mumbai, a State Department official said Thursday evening, speaking on condition of anonymity because the U.S. and Indian governments were still working out final details.
India has been shaken repeatedly by terror attacks blamed on Muslim militants in recent years, but most were bombings striking crowded places: markets, street corners, parks. Mumbai — one of the most populated cities in the world with some 18 million people — was hit by a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.
These attacks were more sophisticated — and more brazen.
They began at about 9:20 p.m. with shooters spraying gunfire across the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station, one of the world's busiest terminals. For the next two hours, there was an attack roughly every 15 minutes — the Jewish center, a tourist restaurant, one hotel, then another, and two attacks on hospitals. There were 10 targets in all.
FOXNews.com's Judd Berger, the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
UNFORTUNATELY THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS JUST CONFIRMED THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS AT THE CHABAD HOUSE.
MAY THEIR FAMILIES BE COMFORTED BY HASHM.
MAY WE BLESS HASHM IN HIS MERCY FOR RETURNING THEIR CHILD TO THE ARMS OF THEIR FAMILY. MAY HE GROW FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.
I am hoping that the four bodies are those of terrorists, but I know that this is probably not the truth. I can't imagine the horrible hours that were spent with these terrorist thugs in the Chabad house, but, as a mother, I am sure that the parents have the reassurance that their child is safe whatever the outcome. As a parent, this is the most important thing, much more important than your own safety.
Continue to pray, please. Keep the tehillim coming--for everyone.
|Indian commandos storm Mumbai Chabad center; heavy gunfire, blasts heard|
|By Anshel Pfeffer, Barak Ravid, Amos Harel and Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondents, and News Agencies|
Indian commandos were dropped by helicopter on the roof of the besieged Chabad headquarters in Mumbai as Indian snipers at the site opened fire early Friday morning.
Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard at the site several hours later.
Heavily armed Indian commandos, their faces covered by balaclavas, rappelled from helicopters onto the roof of the Chabad center in what television reports said was an assault by the paramilitary National Security Guard to flush out the militants.
Sharpshooters in buildings opposite the headquarters of Chabad began shooting early Friday as a helicopter circled overhead.
A Reuters witness said troops fired into the building, apparently to provide cover, as commandos made at least three sorties and took up positions on the roof.
The commando attack on the headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch was punctuated by gunshots and explosions from within the building as forces cleared it floor by floor, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.
One camouflaged commando came out with a bandage on his forehead, while soldiers fired smoke grenades into the building and a steady stream of gunshots reverberated across the narrow alleys.
Hundreds of onlookers, many with binoculars, crowded onto roofs and in narrow alleys of south Mumbai, trying to catch a glimpse of the dramatic commando assault.
A top army general said on Friday morning that anti-terrorist operations in Mumbai should be over within a few hours.
The comments by Lt. Gen. N. Thamburaj came shortly after the commando operation against terrorists inside the Chabad center began.
Earlier on Friday, there were at least three blasts in the building, as terrorists were believed to be holed up inside - possibly with hostages - but the situation still remained murky.
Jerusalem officials Thursday evening expressed serious concern for the lives of the Israelis being held hostage at the Chabad Nariman House. According to information transmitted to the Israeli authorities, there were at least four bodies inside Nariman House, but it was not known whether they were of Israelis. Indian media reported that about 10 of the hostages being held at the Chabad house were freed by security services, but their identities were not known.
Israeli security officials refused to speculate on whether an attack on Mumbai's Chabad center was specifically aimed at Jews.
Indian commandos fought to regain control of buildings in India's commercial capital, Mumbai, Thursday after coordinated attacks by armed militants, blamed by the prime minister on a "terrorist" group outside the country.
Police said at least 119 people were killed and 315 wounded when a small army of about two dozen gunmen - at least some of whom arrived by sea - fanned out across Mumbai to attack sites popular with tourists and businessmen, including two luxury hotels.
The Israeli embassy in New Delhi said dozens of Israeli nationals were still trapped in buildings or held hostage more than 24 hours after the assault had begun.
Commandos were fighting room-to-room battles in the two hotels to rescue people trapped by the gunmen, police said.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed militant groups based in neighboring countries, usually meaning Pakistan, raising fears of renewed tension between the nuclear-armed rivals.
"It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country," he said in a televised address. "We will take the strongest possible measures to ensure that there is no repetition of such terrorist acts."
Throughout the day Thursday Israeli consular officials in Mumbai maintained contact with Indian officials. The consulate's security officer joined the Indian police and army forces surrounding the Chabad center, which Thursday night were still exchanging fire with the terrorists inside the building. The Foreign Minister in Jerusalem and the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi also maintained close contact with India's Ministry of External Affairs.
An Israeli hostage inside the Chabad center called the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi Thursday afternoon and related that the terrorists forced her to call to relay their demand that the Indian government release militants from their organization currently being held in Indian jails.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called her Indian counterpart, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, to offer Israeli assistance in dealing with the terror attacks.
"Israel, India and the rest of the free world are positioned in the forefront of the battle against terrorism and extremists," Livni said. "Unfortunately, we were harshly reminded of this once again on Thursday. The struggle against terror must be a communal struggle, and compels us to improve our cooperation on this front."
Mukherjee promised Livni the Indian authorities would extend any assistance necessary to evacuate Israelis from the terrorist attack sites and in communicating any relevant information regarding developments in Mumbai to the Israeli authorities.
"I want to see an end to this incident and for all Israelis to be freed safely, but the situation is still tense and there is a great deal of uncertainty," Livni said.
The Foreign Ministry's situation room in Jerusalem was in emergency mode Thursday as it attempted to make contact with dozens of Israelis known to be in Mumbai. Ministry officials Thursday said four to six Israelis were thought to be at Nariman House, including two men in the diamond trade. Between 20 and 30 Israelis are believed to be among the hostages held at the city's Taj Mahal and Trident-Oberoi hotels.
During the day Thursday, various proposals were examined to send Israeli diplomatic, security and military personnel to Mumbai. In the end it was decided to reinforce the Israeli diplomatic mission in Mumbai with diplomats from New Delhi as well as from neighboring states.
Livni said a plane would be dispatched to India if needed, either to render assistance or to evacuate Israelis from Mumbai. "We are increasing the presence of our people in the area of Chabad House and across from the Oberoi," Livni said. "We are in constant touch with the police and India's Ministry of External Affairs and we are trying to locate all of the Israelis."
'Pray for the hostages'
A car outfitted with a public address system plied the streets of Jerusalem's Mea Shearim quarter Thursday, entreating listeners, in Hebrew and in Yiddish, to pray for the welfare of the Jews being held hostage in Mumbai. The crisis in India reached the center of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood with news that one of the unaccounted for Israelis in Mumbai is Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, whose father is Rabbi Shmuel Ya'akov Teitelbaum, the admor of one of the largest Hasidic courts in Jerusalem, Toledot Avraham Yitzhak.
Leibish Teitelbaum, who lives in Mea Shearim, flew to Mumbai with Ben-Tzion Korman of Bat Yam to work as kashruth supervisors in factories that supply meals to foreign airlines. On Wednesday night the two were seen leaving a hotel near Chabad House, and have not been heard from since.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
UPDATE: 8 ISRAELIS WERE NOT HOSTAGE IN CHABAD HOUSE, THEY WERE HIDING IN ADJOINING HOUSE. CHABAD HOSTAGES STILL BEING HELD!
UNFORTUNATELY THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS JUST CONFIRMED THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS IN THE CHABAD HOUSE. MAY THEIR FAMILIES BE COMFORTED BY HASHM.
MAY WE BLESS HASHM IN HIS MERCY FOR RETURNING THEIR CHILD TO THE ARMS OF HIS FAMILY. MAY HE GROW FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.
UPDATE: 8 ISRAELIS WERE NOT HOSTAGE IN CHABAD HOUSE, THEY WERE HIDING IN ADJOINING HOUSE. CHABAD HOSTAGES STILL BEING HELD!
Report: Escapees from Chabad House Were Not Rescued
(IsraelNN.com) Indian media services cited by Channel 1 television Thursday evening said that seven or eight people who left Nariman House complex earlier in the evening hid at the time of the terror attacks on Wednesday and took advantage of the opportunity to escape.
The media said that Indian security services have not put a move on the two or three terrorists holding Israelis hostage in the Chabad House within the complex
State official: 8 hostages freed from Mumbai Chabad House
Nov 27, 2008 2:29 | Updated Nov 27, 2008 21:08
By DAVID HOROVITZ, MATTHEW WAGNER, AND JPOST.COM STAFF
Eight Jewish hostages held by Islamic terrorists were released from the Chabad House in Mumbai on Thursday evening in an Indian commando operation, according to a state official.
Mumbai Beit Chabad under siege
The condition and identities of the hostages were unclear, but Israel Radio reported seven hostages were members of the same family.
The commando raid was continuing, however, with the remaining members of the five families taken hostage still being held.
Israel Radio reported that Indian forces were searching for other gunmen inside the building but that not a single a shot has been fired in the last hours of the building's takeover by Indian security forces.
Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that the information received by Israel was only "partial" and that the Foreign Ministry could not confirm that eight hostages had been freed.
Also, Channel 2 reported that one of the hostages had been forced at gunpoint to call the Israeli Consulate in New Delhi with the captors' demand for the release of several Islamic terrorists from Indian jails.
A rabbi, his wife and several other Israelis had been held hostage, according to IBN, an Indian news agency.
Newscasters were calling the raid the "final assault" on the Nariman House, where Chabad headquarters are located, adjacent to the Leopold Cafe, a major tourist center in Mumbai's Colaba area, which was also attacked Wednesday night.
Chabad spokesman in Israel, Moni Ender, said there had been eight Israelis inside the house, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg.
According to a Foreign Ministry estimate, a total of between 10 and 15 Israelis were being held by terrorists at both the Chabad House and the Oberoi Hotel.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Channel 2 that of the 119 listed as dead in the attacks, none were Israeli.
Several senior Indian police and security officers were killed in the joint attack, which caused police to take more cautious measures before storming the Chabad House, said Indian reporters.
Earlier, Reuters reported that one terrorist had been killed by Indian special forces in the Chabad House, but four others still remained barricaded inside, where they were holding off efforts to reach those inside.
On Thursday morning, Moshe Holtzberg, the toddler son of the Chabad emissaries, was rushed from the house in the arms of one of the Chabad House's employees, Sandra Samuel.
"I took the child, I just grabbed the baby and ran out," said Samuel, 44, who has worked as a cook for the center for the last five years.
She said that the rabbi and his wife, along with two other unidentified guests, were alive but unconscious.
"Pray that we should hear good news," urged a Chabad spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem Post from New York in the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel time.
Shmotkin also said that the gunmen had seized a police vehicle, which allowed them access to the area around the Chabad House.
Joshua Runyan, the news editor of the Chabad.org/news website, told the Post that there had been "several reports that shots were fired in the vicinity of the Chabad House, and unconfirmed reports on CNN of casualties in the Nariman House." Nariman House, Runyan said, was the original name of the Chabad House, which was purchased two years ago.
Runyan, who is currently in Jerusalem, said that a friend of the rabbi's had received an email from Holtzberg, unrelated to the attacks, at around the time of the attacks or shortly before they began, but that there had been no contact with Holtzberg since. "Since then, we've been trying all the numbers," he said.
Indian news agencies reported that three people were killed in or close to the Chabad House. The dead were not hostages, the reports said.
Phone calls by the Post to the Chabad House and to the Holtzbergs went unanswered late Wednesday night and in the early hours of Thursday morning. Friends of the Holtzbergs placed messages on various Internet sites appealing for information about them.
Israel Radio reported that consulate staff were visiting local hospitals. Runyan said the Chabad House was a popular tourist destination and that "Israelis regularly come by and visit."
In an article on the chabad.org Web site, Runyan wrote that "Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in New York and Israel are working alongside the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the US Consulate in Mumbai and a volunteer team of local residents to ascertain the well being of the Holtzbergs and other Jews in the area."
He added, "People are urged to say Psalms for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, and anyone affected by the tragedy."
AP, Elie Leshem and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
Chabad Rebbitzen's Family Flies to India. Grandson Safe, Prayers for the Safety of The Parents, All the People of Mumbai
UNFORTUNATELY, THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS CONFIRMED THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS AT THE CHABAD HOUSE.
MAY HASHM COMFORT THEIR FAMILIES.
MAY WE BLESS HASHM FOR HIS MERCY IN RETURNING THEIR CHILD TO THE SAFE ARMS OF HIS FAMILY.
MAY HE GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.
Please, say Tehillim for the safety of all the people of Mumbai who have been taken hostage, whose family members have been killed, whose friends are unaccounted for. If you don't have tehillim handy, just say a quiet prayer and keep them in your heart.
Parents of Chabad emissary's wife 'praying for salvation'
Several hours before leaving for India, Rivka Holtzberg's parents tell Ynet of their feelings after daughter, husband taken hostage by terrorists in Mumbai. 'These are difficult moments,' mother says. Ynet learns couple lost its eldest son two years ago
Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit of Afula are praying for the wellbeing of their daughter Rivka, who has been taken hostage by terrorists in the Indian city of Mumbai, along with her husband, Chabad emissary Gavriel Holtzberg.
According to several reports, both Holtzberg and his wife are unconscious. Their two-year-old son was reportedly released earlier Thursday along with his nanny.
Ynet has learned that the Holtzberg couple lost its eldest son, three-year-old Mandy, only two and a half years ago.
On Thursday afternoon, Rivka's parents left for India to take care of their grandson, who was released by his captors and is currently at the home of the Israeli consulate's security officer.
The couple left for Mumbai accompanied by members of the ZAKA rescue organization and two relatives. They were expected to fly to Istanbul on a private plane and continue to India on a direct flight in order to arrive before Shabbat.
Before embarking on their painful trip, the parents spoke to Israeli Consul-General Orna Sagiv, who informed them that their grandson was transferred to the security officer's home.
Rivka's father said he and his wife were flying to India "first of all in order to take the little boy, Moshe Zvi. We hope to receive good news and to meet Rivki and her husband."
Rivka's three sisters remained at home, forced to deal with the grave situation. "Although Rivki is 10 years older than me, our connection is brave and warm," said sister Haiki. "We talk all the time. They have a wonderful boy, a child of light, and I'm waiting to see him and them. I don’t know what to think now. These are difficult moments."
Earlier, Rivka's mother told Ynet of her feelings. "I'm in the midst of prayers and expecting salvation now. These are difficult moments for a mother. The last time I spoke to her was the day before yesterday. I wasn't worried. There were no signs. What happened could have happened anywhere.
"I believe the building was secured. I want to travel to India to be close to my grandson, to my children. We are in constant touch with Gabby's parents, who live in the US."
Yehudit was filled with pride when she talks of her daughters and son-in-law's work over the past few years.
"They were busy hosting, feeding, listening to Israelis who are there. A warm corner of the Land of Israel. It's true that for them it meant being away from their family, but this is what Chabad emissaries do across the world."
After hearing of what had happened on Wednesday evening, the couple began calling friends in Israel and worldwide, including Chabad emissaries and senior officials in the United States in order to gather some information.
"Naturally, we did not sleep all night," said Shimon. "We are anxious and hope to hear good news. When we heard the child was rescued we breathed with relief, but we're very worried about Rivki and Gavriel's condition."
They tried to contact their relatives all night, but to no avail. "Yesterday morning we spoke to her on the phone, as we did every morning. In the evening, while I was delivering a Kaballah course to women, they told us we should switch on the radio immediately.
"We tried to call them and contact them on the internet, but the entire communication appeared to have collapsed. We called the Foreign Ministry's situation room, but they couldn't update us on anything. Only in the early morning hours we were informed that the terrorists are holding them hostage," the father said.
'We had nothing to worry about'
Relatives and friends have flocked to the family home in Afula, some reciting Psalms and others trying to help Yehudit and Shimon organize the trip to India.
Rabbi David Grossman, whose wife is the sister of Rivka's father, also arrived at the family home.
"I woke up the students at the Migdal Haor yeshiva and turned to thousands of other students across the country, asking them to say a prayer for the wellbeing of Rivki and Rabbi Gavriel and the six other Israelis who are with them at the Chabad office."
The Holtzberg family has been India for five years, after serving as Chabad's emissaries in Thailand.
"We knew their situation there was excellent, and we even visited them there three years ago. They were in close contact with the Consulate workers and the security officers, so we had nothing to worry about," said Rivka's father.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Mumbai Terrorist Attacks Focus on Westerners. One Attack Near Chabad House. Attacks Continue . . . 78 dead, Many Westerners Taken Hostage
UNFORTUNATELY, THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS JUST CONFIRMED THAT THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS AT THE CHABAD HOUSE.
MAY THEIR FAMILIES BE COMFORTED BY HASHM.
MAY WE BLESS HASHM IN HIS MERCY FOR RETURNING THEIR SON TO THE SAFETY OF HIS FAMILY'S ARMS. MAY HE GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.
This has Al Qeda written all over it. According to the Television report I heard, the terrorists where looking for Westerners and, specifically, Americans in the attack.
Tonight I pray for the victims' families, and for the well-being of the hostages.
UPDATE (5:08 a.m. EST Friday)
'Commandos take over top floors of Mumbai Chabad House'
By BY HERB KEINON, JPOST.COM STAFF AND AP
Indian commando forces in Mumbai have taken control of the top floors of the city's Chabad House after storming the building where Islamic terrorists were holding hostages, according to a security officer at the Israeli Embassy.
UPDATE (1:10 p.m. EST Thursday)
Arutz7 is reporting that Anti Terror squads have removed all people from the Chabad House:
Mumbai: Military Activity at Chabad House and Taj Mahal
(IsraelNN.com) According to unconfirmed reports, Indian troops removed eight to 12 people from Chabad House in Mumbai Thursday evening. There is no word on their condition.
The Indian military claims that all the hostages were removed from the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the sites attacked by a Muslim terrorist group on Wednesday in attempt to free its members from Indian jails.
UPDATE: (9:13 a.m. EST Thursday)
Arutz7 reports that the terrorists in the Chabad house have offered to negotiate for the hostages. Meanwhile, Indian Anti-Terror Squads are preparing for an assault.
UPDATE: (8:38 a.m. Thursday)
Chabad's website reports the child of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka has been rescued; however, the fate of his parents is unknown.
UPDATE (7:03 a.m. EST Thursday): ACCORDING TO Arutz7 a powerful explosion was just heard at the Chabad house. Here's the story:
'Beginning of End Game' at Nariman House
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Hana Levi Julian
(IsraelNN.com) Sky News is reporting that two powerful explosions were heard an hour ago from the Nariman House building which houses Mumbai's Chabad House, in India, where at least five Islamist terrorists are still holed up. It is believed that five Israelis are being held hostage.
Hundreds of commandos have surrounded the building and have already killed one terrorist, but five others are still believed to be hiding in the building. Unconfirmed reports said that another terrorist at the nearby Taj Mahal Hotel may have been caught alive.
Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were both reported unconscious, as were several of the Israelis, according to a babysitter who managed to escape and called the family shortly after the siege began. The Foreign Ministry reported that between 10 and 15 Israelis believed to be in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, have not been reached and their whereabouts and condition are still unknown.
Local police previously secured the release of the couple's one and a half-year-old son Moshe, but both parents were still being held captive.
Rivka Holtzberg's father, Rabbi Shimon Rozenberg, is reportedly flying out to the scene. Rabbi Rozenberg is the principal of Migdal Ohr Girls' High School in Migdal Emek, which was founded by his brother-in-law, Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman, winner of the Israel Prize and numerous other public awards.
A previously unknown Muslim terrorist group linked to the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the massive multi-site terror attack carried out late Wednesday night in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Mumbai is home to some 15 million people and is India's largest city.
The terrorists struck two luxury hotels frequented by Americans and British nationals, the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel as well as the city's largest train station, a movie theater and the Cama Hospital with automatic weapons and grenades.
Also among the nine sites struck by the Deccan Mujahideen group throughout "the city that never sleeps" was the Chabad House, a popular stop for Israeli tourists passing through the area who are provided with kosher food and Jewish programs there.
Three top police officials were among at least 101 dead in the attacks, including Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, reported IBN News, which said Karkare had received death threats in phone calls at his home within the past several days.
The terrorists have demanded that India release "all mujahedins," and that "only after that will we release the people," as they told a local television station. Several other Israelis have maintained telephone contact from their eighth-floor hotel rooms. The Chabad website reported that "the situation is grim."
American and British nationals were reportedly being separated out from among other foreigners and held as hostages, according to one British citizen who told Sky News television that he had watched as a gunman asked a group of some 40 hostages for their country of origin. Those who were from Italy, he said, were released, but British and American citizens were held.
British European Parliament Member Sajjad Karim told the television network before his cell phone went dead that he was barricaded in a darkened restaurant in the basement of the Oberoi Hotel. "We are now in the dark in this room and we have barricaded all the doors. It's really bad," he said. Some 200 people were reported being held hostage at the Oberoi Hotel.
It is also estimated that there are still between 45 to 50 hostages being held by the terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel. NDTV reported that Indian security officials believe the terrorists may have infiltrated into the city by sea. There is little regulation in the Bombay Harbor, noted the journalist in his report. Nariman House is located in the southern part of the city, along the water.
The sophisticated terrorist attacks, the worst ever in Mumbai and India, hit as Mumbai is involved in elections.
YESHIVA WORLD BLOG:
TEHILLIM NEEDED - Chabad Shaliach & Wife Missing Since Terror Attack
November 26, 2008
As soon as the news broke of the Mumbai terror attacks, YWN contacted Chabad officials to inquire if the local Shaliach was assisting in rescue efforts - as is the case when tragedies occur across the globe. We also inquired if there were any Jews R”L killed and/or injured.
“We will get back to you as soon as we reach the Shaliach”, was the response.
Several hours have passed, and the local Chabad Shliach, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and his wife Rivka cannot be located. Numerous attempts to locate him have failed.
According to some reports, one of the bombs was detonated near the Chabad House located on 5 Hormusji Street - Nariman House in Mumbai’s Colaba area. Another Chabad official told YWN that there are unconfirmed reports that the Chabad House was “taken-over by the terrorists”.
“We are working closely with the American and Israeli Government’s to try and get credible information”.
“We are waiting for them to contact us,” the anxious mother-in-law of the Shliach, Mrs. Yehudis Rosenberg told a Chabad website. “It’s possible that the phone system in the country crashed - which is a frequent occurrence there.”
The Tzibur is requested to say Tehillim for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma, and Rivka bas Yehudis.
[Numerous locations were attacked by gunfire and bombs - injuring close to 1000 and killing 80.]
(Yehuda Drudgestein - YWN)
Nov 26, 2008 20:37 | Updated Nov 27, 2008 0:41
78 killed and 200 wounded as Mumbai attacks continue
By HERB KEINON AND AP
Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said.
One of the attacks in took place near the Chabad House in the city, according to the Foreign Ministry.
The ministry said it had no information of any Israelis wounded in the attack, but had set up a situation room to deal with the crisis and was in contact with Israel's consulate in the city which was trying to locate all the Israelis there.
An explosion followed by a raging fire struck one of the hotels, the landmark Taj Mahal, early Thursday. Screams could be heard and enormous clouds of black smoke rose from the century-old edifice on Mumbai's waterfront. Firefighters were spraying water at the blaze.
The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said. Fires burned and gunfire was heard for hours. Officials said at least 200 people were wounded.
The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
An Indian media report said a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets.
Police reported hostages being held at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the best-known upscale destinations in this crowded but wealthy city.
Gunmen who burst into the Taj "were targeting foreigners. They kept shouting: `Who has US or UK passports?"' said Ashok Patel, a British citizen who fled from the hotel.
Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were prisoners at the Taj Mahal, but it was not immediately clear if hostages at the Oberoi were Indians or foreigners, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said US officials were not aware of any American casualties, but were still checking. He said he could not address reports that Westerners might be among the hostages.
"We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.
Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said 78 people had been killed and 200 had been wounded.
Blood smeared the floor of the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, where attackers sprayed bullets into the crowded terminal. Press Trust of India quoted the chief of the Mumbai railway police, A.K. Sharma, as saying several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up at the station.
Other gunmen attacked Leopold's restaurant, a landmark popular with foreigners, and the police headquarters in southern Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.
A British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi hotel told Sky News television that the gunmen who struck there singled out Britons and Americans.
Alex Chamberlain said a gunman, a young man of 22 or 23, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands. He said the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu.
"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything - and thank God they didn't," he said.
Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.
Early Thursday, several European lawmakers were among people who barricaded themselves inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.
"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a European Union-India summit.
As he turned to get away, "all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.
Hours later, Karim remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure if it was safe to come out.
The British Foreign Office said it was advising all British citizens in Mumbai to stay indoors.
Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, strongly condemned the attacks. "Today's attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists," Miliband said in a statement.
India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.
Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.
Mumbai has been hit repeatedly by terror attacks since March 1993, when Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carried out a series of bombings on Mumbai's stock exchange, trains, hotels and gas stations. Authorities say those attacks, which killed 257 people and wounded more than 1,100, were carried out to avenge the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots that had swept India.
Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in July 2007 a series of seven blasts on railway trains and at commuter rail stations killed at least 187.
Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947.
Judge Orders Federman Can Return "The petition by the State is defective [because of its] grave discrimination."
Someone send this judge a thank you note for simply following legal principles and refusing to be a puppet of politics.
Likud? Are you listening? I know you will be in office next, so can you please take notice of people like this judge? Can you please recognize honesty and respect for the law in a judge and see if you can't fill our High Court with judges like this?
It is SO like Barak to try and destroy any semblance of justice in the country!
What a poor excuse for a man, let alone a Jew.
Nov 26, 2008 11:20 | Updated Nov 26, 2008 16:13
'Federman can return to destroyed home'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced on Wednesday his intention to appeal a decision made by the Jerusalem District Court which ruled that far-right activist Noam Federman was allowed to return to the same location from which he and his family were forcibly evacuated nearly one month ago.
"It is not clear to me," presiding Judge Moshe Drori wrote in his decision, "why it was necessary to embark on an operation involving 100 police officers in order to evict a man from a closed military zone which was closed 10 months earlier, without any warning, without any attempt at negotiation and without checking the claims of the other side."
Around 1:30 p.m. on October 26, security forces, in a surprise operation, destroyed an outpost, nicknamed 'Federman Farm,' which consisted of two unauthorized homes belonging to the families of singer Sinai Tor and Federman.
"I haven't heard any claims which would support [Federman's] inclusion in an order declaring a closed military zone," the decision read. "[He] is not suspected of conducting a terror attack against Israeli communities, which is one function of the order, and certainly the closure of this area does not apply to [Federman]."
"Indeed," the judge continued, "producing this order [implies an attempt] to prevent a 'terrorist infiltration,' and it is inconceivable that [Federman] be included in this category. For this reason he should have been permitted to remain in the closed territory in order to protect the Israeli communities from terrorist attacks and infiltration, and not have been expelled from the area."
"The methods by which [the State used to evacuate the outpost] were unconstitutional and not proportional, in as much as they prevented Federman from living in a significant portion of the land of Israel," the ruling read. "The petition by the State is defective [because of its] grave discrimination. I have not heard any explanation as to why the State chose to evacuate a man with a family which includes a wife and nine little children at 1:30 at night. I don't see how this kind of thing exhibits an obligation by the state to protect its children."
Trying to convict Rabbi Shadrapi for “incitement” is like trying to convict a person walking in a tender-dry forest of arson. Of course you could pin the fire on them, but the truth is that the fire would have started anyway.
The real tragedy of the situation is that the government is out for a witch hunt to find those who are opposing what is probably the most apparent miscarriage of justice on record. It is the government that has created the situation in the first place and, after creating it, fanned the flames in order to gain a few votes in the upcoming election.
The whole thing is part of a greater sickness gripping the secular citizens of the country—one of self-mutilation and self-hatred. The people of Israel have been held hostage for too long by the rabid hate of the world. They have forgotten who they are, and they have started to side with their captors. It is a commonly seen illness, but one not seen on a national scale until now.
Our only hope is for the people of Israel to stop being doormats and start being Jews.
Nov 26, 2008 12:31 | Updated Nov 26, 2008 16:02
Yeshiva head arrested for inciting youth
By JPOST STAFF AND YAAKOV KATZ
Rabbi Yigal Shandrapi, the head of Yeshuat Mordechai Yeshiva, is expected to be brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday for a remand hearing, after police from the Judea and Samaria Division arrested him on Tuesday on suspicion of inciting Jewish youth to riot.
According to the allegations, Shandrapi incited the teenagers two separate cases, the most recent of which occurred two months ago at the Yad Yair outpost, in the West Bank. During that incident, soldiers described being attacked and said that their vehicles were damaged.
Meanwhile, nearly 40 Jewish youth reportedly rampaged through the streets of a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron overnight Tuesday, puncturing car tires and shattering windows in Arab homes.
The youths were also suspected of spray-painting a Star of David on one of the houses in the area.
While no arrests had been made, police were investigating the incident.
Responding to the latest developments, the chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee, MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor), called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter to clamp down on the offenders.
"This is an additional crossing of a red line by organized, dangerous thugs, and it must be responded to with the utmost seriousness and gravity," Paz-Pines said. "The police must immediately initiate a thorough investigation and start a series of arrests in order to put an end to the 'Wild West' in Hebron, and to establish, without hesitation, the rule of law."
Meanwhile, Barak warned on Wednesday that if settlers do not voluntarily evacuate the dispute four-story building in Hebron, known as Beit Hashalom, the defense ministry will evacuate them by force.
Speaking during a tour of the IDF's Hebron brigade, Barak stressed that the evacuation would be carried out by police and that the IDF would provide surrounding support.
Barak also harshly criticized the recent violence and said that any harm inflicted on a soldier or policeman or anyone who represented the state of Israel was a "grave incident which expands the rift which is already harming the gentle fabric of democracy in Israel."
Barak said Israel must "arrest these attackers, punish them with all the severity of the law, since their actions are aimed at undermining the authority of the State."
The defense minister, toured the area with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni.
On Tuesday, Shamni met with settler leaders in Hebron, who warned him that a violent evacuation could lead to casualties on both sides.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
High Court of Injustice Did NOT Order Evacuation of Beit H'Shalom! Government Staging Politically Motivated Evacuation To Sway Voters
The difference between what the government "must" do and "may" do are two completely different things.
If the Supreme Court said that the government "may" remove the families from Beit H'Shalom in Hevron, but did not REQUIRE them to remove those families, then the expense and trouble the government is taking in trying to remove those families must be seen in a completely new light.
It appears that the entire Beit H'Shalom showdown is one manufactured by the left in order to politicize the situation before elections. This sheds a very bad light upon Olmert and his ilk, exposing Kadima's charade for what it is.
I was disgusted before, now I am simply sick. Please, please, please, just arrest Olmert and get him off our streets before he causes a civil war!! The man is dangerous and completely out of control.
Ex-Judge: Supreme Court Didn’t Order Beit HaShalom Eviction
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) A former Supreme Court justice says that the media misled the public and Defense Minister Ehud Barak into thinking that the Supreme Court has ordered the evacuation of Jews from Peace House in Hevron.
Yaakov Turkel, who served as a Supreme Court Justice for ten years until 2005, says that the ruling in question does not order the State to evict the Jews, but rather allows them to do so. He spoke with Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen and Uzi Baruch.
The ruling in question was issued a week ago, and gave the Jews living in Peace House – a four-story structure along the road leading from Kiryat Arba into Hevron – three days to leave the building. After that period, the ruling states, “it will be possible to act in accordance with Squatters’ Evacuation Law.”
Turkel emphasizes that, unlike the media reports and announcements by Defense Minister Barak and other public officials, “the ruling does not obligate the State to act to evacuate the Jews, but rather gives them the freedom to decide whether to do so or not.”
In light of Turkel's statements, it appears that Public Security Minister Avi Dichter of Kadima did not read the ruling.
The ruling, and the manner in which it was understood by the media and the public, aroused great opposition to the Supreme Court among the nationalist public, as well as great tensions in Hevron in anticipation of an Amona-like clash in the building.
The 20 families that live there, plus many more people who have arrived over the last few days - and especially for this past Sabbath, when the Torah portion of Patriarch Abraham's purchase of Hevron land is read aloud - began making preparations to try and rebuff security forces that may try to evict them.
Ruling States: Jews 'May' - not 'Must' - be Evicted
The Court ruled that the Jewish occupants “may” be removed, despite the fact that they had produced written, audio and video proof that the Arab owner had sold it to them.
“When the Defense Minister said he would abide by the Supreme Court ruling ordering the Jews’ eviction,” Turkel said, “this was very much not to my liking, since there was no such order… This misunderstanding has caused the great rift in the religious and right-wing’s trust in the Supreme Court.”
In light of Turkel's statements, it appears that Public Security Minister Avi Dichter of Kadima did not read the ruling. "The ruling is not a recommendation, and we will implement it exactly as written," he said last week, promising that within 30 days, no Jews would be living in the disputed building. "We have no intention of straying from the Supreme Court ruling, which is the law," he said.
Turkel: It Belongs in a Lower Court
Asked how he would have ruled if he had been on the judicial panel, Justice Turkel said, “I would have passed the matter down to the District Court, in light of the complexity of the case and the mutual claims of forgery. The District Court would then review the evidence and decide if an evacuation order should be issued before a final ruling.”
This is in keeping with long-standing practice that the Supreme Court does not rule on matters pertaining to civil disputes between individuals.