zondag 30 november 2008

Slachtoffers van terreuraanslagen Mumbai ook uit Israel

De terreuraanval in Mumbai heeft veel publiciteit gekregen in onze media, maar was voor Indiase begrippen helemaal niet zo uitzonderlijk. De Metro gaf vrijdag een lijstje van de grootste aanslagen in India in recente jaren:
Augustus 2003: 60 doden
Augustus 2004: 60 doden
29 oktober 2005: 65 doden
11 juli 2006: 174 doden
19 februari 2007: 66 doden
13 mei 2008: 63 doden
26 juli 2008: 160 doden
30 oktober 2008: 76 doden
Met meer dan 195 doden is dit wel de grootste aanslag, die zich bovendien over meerdere dagen afspeelde. Verder valt op dat gericht naar Amerikanen, Britten en ... Joden werd gezocht.
Het lijkt mij dom om gelijk weer rivaal Pakistan tegen zich in het harnas te jagen met beschuldigingen, tenzij hard bewijs voor is betrokkenheid van de Pakistaanse regering. Samenwerking tussen India en Pakistan zou vruchtbaarder zijn, want extremisme en terrorisme is ook voor Pakistan een groot probleem. Hetzelfde geldt voor Israel, dat in India een sterke bondgenoot kan hebben.
Last update - 10:52 29/11/2008

Two more bodies found at Mumbai Chabad center
By Anshel Pfeffer in Mumbai, and News Agencies

MUMBAI - A Foreign Ministry statement issued Saturday announced that the bodies of eight hostages had been removed from the Chabad House in Mumbai and taken to local hospitals for identification. On Friday, only six of the eight had been discovered, and only four have so far been identified.

More than 195 people were killed in the attacks across the city, which began Wednesday night. Indian security forces stormed the Jewish Chabad center early Friday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Channel 1 Television on Friday that the bodies of two women and three men had been found at the center, one of 10 targets attacked by suspected Muslim terrorists across India's financial capital. The body of a third woman was found later in the building.
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement confirmed Friday evening that an Israeli-born American rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife Rivka, 28 were among the dead.

Barak said two men who supervised Jewish dietary laws were also apparently among the dead. They were later identified as Leibish Teitlebau, an American from Brooklyn, and Ben-Zion Croman, an Israeli with dual U.S. citizenship.

Barak added that some of the bodies had been tied up, and that two women had been killed many hours before.

"All in all, it was a difficult spectacle," he said.

The defense minister said, without elaborating, that the roots of the attack were in India, but involved militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.

While acknowledging the complexity of ending the attacks across sprawling Mumbai, Barak added, "I'm not sure it had to last three days, but that's what happened."

Israel offered all manner of help to Indian officials, Barak said, including assistance "that is inappropriate to detail here."

Israel's ambasssador to India, Mark Sofer, however, consistently dismissed reports that Israeli commandos took part in the operation.

Channel 1 reported that the bodies of the Israelis killed in the attack would be returned to Israel on Sunday for burial.

"Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory," the Chabad's New York headquarters said in a statement.

The couple ran the Chabad's Mumbai headquarters. Their toddler son, Moshe, was smuggled out of the center by an employee on Wednesday, and is now with his maternal grandparents, who arrived from Israel on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, speaking at a news conference in Jerusalem, said Friday that it was no coincidence the Chabad center had been attacked.

"There is no doubt, we know, that the targets the terrorists singled out were Jewish, Israeli targets and targets identified with the West, Americans and Britons," Livni said.

"Our world is under attack, it doesn't matter whether it happens in India or somewhere else," she added. "There are Islamic extremists who don't accept our existence or Western values."

Her words echoed those of Mark Sofer, who said earlier that out of the thousands of building in Mumbai, it was hard to believe that the terrorists had stumbled by chance upon the Jewish center.

"Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory," the New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch Movement said in a statement.

Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, was born in Israel and moved to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn with his parents when he was nine. His 28-year-old wife, born Rivka Rosenberg, was a native of Afula.

They arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the small Jewish community there, running a synagogue and Torah classes, and assisting Jewish tourists to the seaside city.

"Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice," Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, said in a statement.

"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."

Israeli diplomat Haim Choshen told Israeli television by telephone from the scene that the bodies of hostages were found after Indian security forces stormed the Chabad center.

Chabad first raised the alarm Wednesday night, when attacks began in Mumbai, saying it had failed to make contact with the rabbi. Hundreds of people were also wounded in the attacks, which appeared to target locations popular with foreigners.

The chief of India's elite National Security Guards, J.K. Dutt, told Indian television that the commandos had also killed two militants in operations at the center.

A short way across the city, frequent gunshots and explosions rang out throughout Friday from the luxury Taj hotel, as commandos fought cat-and-mouse battles with gunmen holed up inside.

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