MOTZEI SHABBOS UPDATE AT THE TOP –
Motzei Shabbos Update on Mumbai Terror Attack
Officials in Israel report nine Jews were murdered in the latest barbaric Islamic terror attack which consisted of the indiscriminate murder of many innocent people, among them the Kedoshim in the Mumbai Chabad House. Seven of the nine are believed to be Israelis.
The death toll now stands at 155. Officials fear this number may double as the recovery mission continues in Mumbai.
The names cleared for release at present include;
1. Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg (29) HY”D, Shaliach Chabad in Mumbai,
2. Rebbitzin Rivka Holtzberg (28) HY”D,
3. Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Teitlebaum HY”D, a son-in-law of the Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe Shlita and a son of the Volover Rebbe USA Shlita,
4. R’ Bentzion Chroman HY”D, a Bobover chossid & mashgiach, and a resident of Bat Yam,
5. Yocheved Orpaz HY”D, a resident of Afula,
6. Another female, a Mexican Jew HY”D,
7. A local Jewish woman HY”D,
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)
WEDNESDAY 5:30PM EST THROUGH EREV SHABBOS – LATEST REPORT AT THE BOTTOM
(First report Wed 5:30PM EST) 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; (his wife) Rivka bas Yehudis; (and their son) Moshe Tzvi ben Rivka.
UPDATE Wed 9:25PM EST: Urgent message from Chabad: Anyone that speaks Indian languages: Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, should please contact [email protected] ASAP!
UPDATE Wed 9:30PM EST: Indian TV Networks report that hostages have been taken “inside the Jewish center by terrorists”. The reporter added that “many folks in the area are concerned for the safety of the Chabad family as everyone knows them as very nice people”.
UPDATE Wed 10:00PM EST: Indian TV reports that heavy shooting is coming from the Chabad house. Commandos are currently awaiting orders to storm the structure.
UPDATE Wed 10:30PM EST: There are reports of people killed inside the building – unknown whom.
UPDATE Wed 11:56PM EST: LIVE VIDEO FEED Click HERE for live video from India Horror scenes.
UPDATE Thur 12:22AM EST: IBNLive (TV) just showed footage of a young child and a mother running out of the structure. The reporter said “they were definitely foreigners”.
UPDATE Thur 12:39AM EST: According to Chabad spokesman Rav Menachem Brod, Rivka Holtzberg and her daughter were seen running from the Mumbai Chabad House. He warns this is not confirmed but we remain hopeful at this time. Rav Brod states that despite the reports circulating on the Internet, the Chabad network has not received any such notification from any official sources.
UPDATE Thur 12:45AM EST: An IBNLive (TV) reporter live at the Chabad House just said “the mother and child appeared to be Israelis”. Additionally, a cook from the building has safely escaped. These people have been held hostage for the past 12 hours.
UPDATE Thur 1:23AM EST: Chabad confirms to YWN that the child (Moshe) is Boruch Hashem alive and well at a local hospital. No word on the parents – and their second child – as of this time.
UPDATE Thur 2:08AM EST / 9:08AM IL: The following information is a compilation of reports from Israeli consular officials in India, local media, and Foreign Ministry officials in Israel.
Despite reports of Israeli hostages other than the Chabad House situation, Israeli officials have no such confirmed reports other than three Israelis, one each in two different hotels and a third situation. There are unconfirmed reports stating some twenty plus Israeli hostages are being held. The Foreign Ministry in Israel is not confirming this.
YWN Israel has also received reports that Rav Holtzberg is unconscious. The woman seen running from the Chabad House earlier is now said to have been a domestic employee.
We urge all readers to understand that news from the terror-stricken areas is sporadic and unconfirmed at best. There are conflicting reports and undoubtedly, at the end of the now over 14-hour terrorist barrage it will be learned that many of the media reports were incorrect.
UPDATE Thur 2:22AM EST / 9:22AM IL: Live reports from Mumbai report that six terrorists were killed in Nariman House. Nine gunmen were taken custody. Security forces evacuated nearby homes as people were wounded and killed by random fire in the area, which is a very busy tourist area.
Among the dead are 11 policemen and at least 18 have been wounded.
An Israeli national who escaped the attacked gave the following statement; “I was having dinner with an Indian friend of mine and he thought he heard firecrackers and I told him I thought it was gunfire, not firecrackers. Next thing we know, we heard shots and a waitress was shot and we rant to hide in the kitchen… The gunmen then came inside and ordered us upstairs. One of them looked about 22-years-old, clean shaven, and he did not look like a Muslim terrorist.”
UPDATE Thur 2:31AM EST / 9:31AM IL: Fifteen hours since Mumbai came under attack, there does not appear to be an end in sight to the situation which involves an unknown number of terrorists in different venues. Officials believe 5-6 terrorists remain in the Chabad House. There are also A number of people have now been evacuated from the area of the Nariman House and there is speculation that a “major action” may soon take place.
The top two floors of the Chabad House (Nariman House) are occupied by locals while the bottom two floors are used by Chabad and Israelis. The three hostages who escaped the Nariman House (Chabad House) seem to be a local national, the Holtzberg family nanny, Rivka Holtzberg and a daughter. They were taken directly to a medical facility for a checkup. Mumbai media reports state that until now, six bodies have been removed from the Taj Hotel. Terrorists are still at large in the Taj and another hotel.
The death toll now stands at 100 with 187 or more wounded. Among the dead are local security forces, including the police department’s anti-terror chief and at least one senior minister.
UPDATE Thur 2:38AM EST / 9:38AM IL: The following report is from Israel Foreign Ministry official Yossi Levy, who is monitoring events in Mumbai from the situation room. Levy explains they remain in contact with consular officials in India via satellite technology.
At present, no names of Israelis ar among the wounded in hospitals. There are still an unspecified number of Israelis listed as missing. Efforts to establish communications with them have failed but efforts are ongoing.
Regarding the Chabad House, the situation remains unclear despite reports, some of which are conflicting. As such, the Foreign Ministry is unable to give confirmed information but states it appears the wife and a child have escaped and the rabbi is still alive. This report however is not being confirmed by official sources but it is being stressed that both Rav Holtzberg and his rebbitzin appear to be alive Baruch Hashem.
Binyamin Avraham, the rav of El Al, is currently in the Bombay Airport. He told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) a few moments ago the airport is open and he hopes that a flight with many Israeli nationals will be able to depart on schedule.
Mumbai media reports the NSG is operating in the Chabad House, apparently to neutralize the situation there where a number of terrorists are believed to still be at large. In addition, the marine commando chief reports 40-45 hostages remain in the Taj Hotel.
UPDATE Thur 2:47AM EST / 9:47AM IL: There are reports from the scene that there are exchanges of gunfire at the Chabad (Nariman) House. There are no reports of what is taking place but a short time ago; authorities have begun evacuating residents living in nearby homes. Mumbai media reports NSG forces are moving floor-by-floor, searching each room in the Taj Hotel, calling it a “somewhat complicated situation”. CNN quoted NSG officials reports “everything is under control”. About 25 hostages are believed to still be in the Oberoi Hotel.In the meantime, Gaza-based terrorists seem to feel the tension in Israel surrounding the hostages in the Chabad House and missing Israelis in Mumbai is a good background to step-up attacks. In the past hour, there have been at least three waves of Kassam rockets in the western Negev and Sderot areas. Baruch Hashem, there are no reports of injuries.
UPDATE Thur 3:00AM EST / 10:00AM IL: Commando forces are working to secure the situation at the Chabad House in Mumbai, with Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) stating it appears there are still 5-6 people inside.
Sharoni, an Israeli who lives near the Chabad House, reports the police got the rebbitzin and a toddler out of the area safely.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy reports from the situation room, that currently, there are no reports of Israelis among the wounded.
The El Al plane in Bombay Airport is scheduled to return home this evening. A flight from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport to India has been canceled.
British High Commissioner Sir Richard Stagg reports a center has been established, checking for British citizens in hospitals, reporting seven injured. He reports that the head of the British counter-terrorism office will be coming to Delhi on Monday as the two countries maintain a “close relationship”.
Security forces are still operating in the Taj Hotel, moving from room to room in an effort to secure the area. There are still reports of some 25 hostages in the Oberoi Hotel. Officials report “it is going to be a very very long day, adding the police operation may take a while”. As the report comes in, there are new reports of renewed gunfire at the Oberoi. Reporters at the scene state the situation “is a very complicated matter and extra paramilitary troops are being brought in towards executing the ongoing strategy.”
Officials are confirming there are hundreds of residents inside the Oberoi along with a small number of foreigners, plus the hostages.
UPDATE Thur 3:20AM EST / 10:20AM IL: There are six hostages being held in the Chabad House in Mumbai. It is difficult to understand what is taking place as Mumbai security officials continue to speak of a commando operation but this does not seem to be taking place.
MDA Emergency Medical Service officials report they are dispatching a medical team to Mumbai. Details to follow as they become available.
UPDATE Thur 3:40AM EST/ 10:40AM IL: Informed sources report that two mashgichim, apparently from America, are missing in India, with one reportedly a son-in-law of the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe Shlita, who is also the son of the Velve Rebbe Shlita. This report is unconfirmed.
YWN is unable to verify this report, but it states there are fears the two mashgichim are among the hostages in the Bet Chabad.
UPDATE Thur 4:30AM EST / 11:30AM IL: Mumbai officials are still reporting about 25 hostages are being held in the Oberoi (Trident) Hotel. Renewed fighting has resumed in that location. There is no contact with the hostages at this time.
Once again, security forces report they are preparing to storm the Chabad House.
UPDATE Thur 5:10AM EST / 12:10PM IL: Loud explosion heard coming from the Chabad House a short time ago. The shaliach, Rav Gavriel Holtzberg is believed alive, but unconscious. Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) is reporting local forces have apparently stormed the Chabad House and there is an exchange of gunfire taking place.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy continues to report there are no known Israelis among the injured, now numbering over 300. Ministry officials fear that the terrorists, who appear to be Islamic fundamentalists, will not hesitate to harm Israeli hostages.
UPDATE Thur 5:30AM EST / 12:30PM IL: Foreign Ministry officials have ordered Israeli diplomats in Asia to head to Mumbai to render assistance and begin processing data regarding Israeli citizens in the area.
MDA Emergency Medical Service Director-General Eli Bin has instructed his people to prepare to leave for Mumbai, as has ZAKA leader Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who reports a team is suiting up at this time.
The same hold true for the IDF’s Homefront Command. Foreign Ministry officials may also decide to instruct Israeli physicians in New Delhi to make their way to Mumbai to assist as well.
MDA spokesman Zaki Heller reports that the team will include physicians, paramedics and other allied medical professionals.
UPDATE Thur 8:57AM EST / 15:57PM IL: It has been well over 20 hours since terrorists launched their war in Mumbai, and the end is nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, reports from Israel are beginning to carry an air of pessimism regarding the plight of the Chabad Shaliach, Rav Gavriel Holtzman and Rebbitzin Rivka, but Klal Yisrael is urged to continue reciting tefillos on their behalf.
Tefillos are requested on behalf of Gavriel Noach ben Frieda Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis.
As with almost every report since the events began, there are now contradictory statements regarding the authenticity of an earlier report regarding a terrorist expressing a willingness or even a desire to negotiate for the release of Chabad House hostages.
Israel Radio reported earlier that it will be sometime until the events are studied, but it does indeed appear that the terrorists knew very well that they were targeting the Chabad House, directing their multi-pronged killing spree at Jews/Israelis are well.
In the meantime, an El Al flight is scheduled to leave Mumbai at 20:00 Israel time (23:00 Mumbai) time Thursday night, expected to land in Israel during the early predawn hours. The aircraft has space to accommodate 300 passengers.
UPDATE Thur 9:11AM EST / 16:11PM IL: American media reports state that three Israelis were killed in the Mumbai Chabad House. At this time, there is absolutely no confirmation from any official Israeli sources.
UPDATE Thur 9:53AM EST / 16:53PM IL: A major explosion was reported in Taj Hotel a short time ago in addition to a major fire, which continues to burn out of control in Oberoi Hotel. It is being reported the terrorists in Oberoi are on the 19th floor. Authorities report the bottom 13 floors have been secured.
According to IBNLive.com, renewed fighting is taking place as Mumbai forces continue efforts to neutralize the terror attack that has been ongoing for close to 24 hours. Senior Indian government officials are in Mumbai, and reinforcements and troop replacement have been brought in as well.
At present, the area surrounding the Chabad House has been blacked out by authorities as troops prepare for what they are calling a final assault.
UPDATE Thur 10:51AM EST / 17:51PM IL: The death toll in the Mumbai ongoing terror has climbed to 125, with an estimated 327 wounded.
The scene from the Taj and Oberoi Hotels is explosions, gunfire and fire. Authorities reported earlier that all the terrorists in Oberoi were eliminated.
In the meantime, authorities continue to report they are planning for the “final assault” on the Chabad House. There are many rumors concerning Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his rebbitzin Rivka, and the son-in-law of the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe’s Shlita son-in-law. In the meantime, tefillos are continuing around the world.
There are no new details being released by Israel Foreign Ministry officials.
UPDATE Thur 1:05PM EST / 20:05PM IL: Once again, there is much confusion surrounding the latest report, this time attributed to the Israeli diplomatic sources. It appears up to 15 hostages have been released by terrorists in Mumbai, but not from the Chabad House as fist believed, but from near the Chabad House. Once again, there is no definitive source. There is no explanation accompanying the statement, which is ambiguous at best.
Foreign Ministry officials are reporting however that on Thursday afternoon, a female hostage in the Chabad House phone Israeli consular officials in New Delhi stating she has a gun pointed to her head and the terrorists are demanding the release of prisoners in India.
UPDATE Thur 1:50PM EST / 20:50PM IL: A report quoting state officials in Mumbai confirms the release of eight hostages from the Chabad House. No additional official information is available at this time.
Mumbai officials also report that the standoff at Taj Hotel has come to an end. All of the terrorists were eliminated.
It is important to realize that the statement made earlier by Israel Consul General in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, was apparently quoting the same Mumbai state source and not based on confirmed information received by Israel Foreign Ministry officials.
When questioned, Sagiv stated the hostages could indeed have come from the neighboring building, not the Chabad House itself. Sagiv added he and his staff continue to do their utmost to confirm the report, stating that ultimately, they do not know with absolute certainty if anyone was set free from the Chabad House.
A Ynet report quoting Israeli Embassy security officer Ehud Raz states that Raz himself reports that Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg’s son and “the woman” emerged unharmed from the Chabad House and they are sleeping at his home. This is not from an official source, and yes, it does have a strange tone to it since after over 24 hours in captivity, one would expect the released hostages to be taken for debriefing and medical examinations.
UPDATE Thur 2:15PM EST / 21:15PM IL: CNN just interviewed the Israeli Ambassador to the United States who said that there is no confirmation to a CNN report which claimed that the Chabad Rabbi was released. The Ambassador said that “there is no confirmation as to who was released”.
UPDATE Thur 2:20PM EST / 21:20PM IL: According to an official statement released moments ago from Chabad spokesman in Eretz Yisrael Rabbi Menachem Brod, unfortunately, the statement from Mumbai sources that the Chabad hostages have been freed is not based in fact.
We continue tefillos praying to merit seeing Rav Holtzberg, his family, and the other yidden come out of the hostage situation in good health.
UPDATE Thur 5:00PM EST / 23:00AM IL: Click HERE for photos of Lubavitchers & IDF soldiers gathering at the Kosel to Daven on behalf of the Mumbai terror attacks.
UPDATE Thur 5:05PM EST / 23:05AM IL: According to the latest reports on Indian TV, two blasts have been heard at Nariman House. There is still no word on the hotages.
UPDATE Thur 7:30PM EST / 2:30AM IL: There are many uncredible, unconfirmed rumors and reports being passed around. YWN is aggressively working closely with our highly-credible sources to bring you the latest – and most accurate information. As of this update, there has been NO change.
UPDATE Thur 7:35PM EST / 3:35AM IL: We can report that the Holzberg family has departed NYC enroute to Eretz Yisroel (Israel)
UPDATE Thur 8:45PM EST / 4:45AM IL: A chopper has just hovered on top of the Chabad House for 5 minutes, numerous shots were fired, and approximately 8 security personnel dropped down ropes and into the building. Reporters on scene say that there are more terrorists then expected inside the building.
UPDATE Thur 8:52PM EST / 4:52AM IL: A large explosion was just heard from inside the structure.
UPDATE Thur 9:35PM EST / 5:35AM IL: Numerous explosions, and heavy gunfire heard from building. Ambulances have been brought to the scene – no reason given by local media.
Unconfirmed reports that Israeli commandos are scheduled to arrive in Mumbai shortly to assist in the unfolding horror.
UPDATE Thur 9:56PM EST / 5:56AM IL: One commando has reportedly been struck by gunfire in the Chabad House. A Chopper continues to circle the building, as fresh gunfire erupts.
UPDATE Thur 10:03PM EST / 6:03AM IL: A hand is seen waving a white towel out the window of the Chabad House. It is unknown if this is one of the hostages trying to grab attention as to which room he is in, or from one of the terrorists showing a sign of surrender.
UPDATE Thur 10:41PM EST / 6:41AM IL: CNN reports that an IAF Chopper is now on the scene above the Oberoi Hotel – where there may still be Israeli hostages inside. Meanwhile, at the Chabad House, fresh gunfire has erupted – and smoke is shoring from one of the windows.
UPDATE Thur 10:49PM EST / 6:49AM IL: The white towel being waved out of the window may possibly be TZITZIS! We will allow the YWN readers to make that judgement. Click HERE to view the photos!
UPDATE Fri 12:13AM EST / 7:13 IL: A final 300 Israelis arrived early Friday morning in Ben-Gurion International Airport from Mumbai. Some of them were actually in the Chabad House not long before Islamic terrorists began their siege of the area.
As of early Friday morning, there are no official reports being released in Eretz Yisrael from the Foreign Ministry or other government agencies.
UPDATE Fri 12:26AM EST / 7:27AM IL: An India TV reporter on the scene says that “Jewish people in the area say that the white cloth was a Jewish prayer shawl.” There is no movement from the building in the past hour.
UPDATE Fri 1:05AM EST / 8:05AM IL: India TV reports that commandos have cleared the top two floors of the Chabad House. Still no word on hostages. Over at the Oberoi Hotel, 40+ hostages have reportedly been rescued – most of them foreigners.
UPDATE Fri 1:15AM EST / 8:02AM IL: Prof. Yossi Katz of Bar Ilan University was one of the 300 Israelis who arrived on the El Al flight from Mumbai on Friday morning. He explained that only on his way home from Ben-Gurion Airport did he realize the magnitude of what had taken place, adding this Shabbos he will ‘bench gomel’ with much fervor.
Katz explained that Rav Holtzberg intentionally situated his Chabad House in the hotel district, which also serves as a hotel, where he and others were staying. He stressed the Chabad center serves as a hotel in every sense of the word and in addition, offers the spiritual nourishment which a simple hotel lacks.
Yehuda Mesh-Zahav, the international director of ZAKA reported a short time ago that his team of six people, seasoned volunteers who have been at disaster scenes around the world, are near the Chabad House. The team includes three paramedics.
Meshi-Zahav explained one of the advantageous of his organization is that some countries do not want aid from other countries but ZAKA is listed with the UN as an international organization and therefore, can enter certain areas that other Israeli agencies may be barred from. He added that his team is operating under the direction of the Government of Israel and fortunately, the unique arrangement, referring to the organization’s international status, permits ZAKA to become a “long extended arm of Israel around the world”.
When asked if his men have any reports, he stated the information is “unconfirmed and coming in bits and pieces”, prompting him to decline responding regarding an inquiry pertaining to Rav Holtzberg.
UPDATE Fri 1:20AM EST / 8:20AM EST: Heavy gunfire and numerous explosions suddenly erupt at the Taj Hotel. Footage coming in of everyone ducking for cover.
UPDATE Fri 1:35AM EST / 8:35AM IL: 6 Hostages are feard dead in Oberoi as the Taj firing continues. Reports are that there is one remaining terrorist going from room to room and shooting randomly in and out of the building. He possibly might have a family of hostages with him. He is able to move around without being noticed as he shut off the lights. Cops and Journalist are ducking for coverage.
UPDATE Fri 1:50AM EST / 8:50AM IL: Reports now coming in that there are possibly 3 terrorist now inside the Taj. Around 3 explosions were just heard coming from the building. Also renewed gunfire and explosions hear at the Nariman House where there are reportedly still at least 4 Jews being held hostage. Meanwhile, live TV footage shows hundreds of civilians standing around “watching the show” at the Chabad House as firing and explosions continue.
UPDATE Fri 3:15AM EST / 10:15AM IL: Reports have been flying in now that there is fresh terror in Mumbai. There are reports the there is firing at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, better known by its abbreviation CST is a historic railway station in Mumbai which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. It is one of the busiest railway stations in India, and serves Central Railway trains terminating in Mumbai as well as the Mumbai suburban railway. There is speculation that maybe some terrorists are trying to get out of the city. POLICE HAVE NOT CONFIRMED THIS REPORT. However ALL TRAINS TO CST STOPPED MID-WAY! At the CST people are running out of the building and cops our running around. The Commisioner of the Railway Saftey says that it’s a false alarm and no need to panic. Panic is spreading through the city. Shops are closing their shutters. People are running for cover.
Additionaly there are reports of 3 shots fired at the GT Hospital followed by witnesses saying that the police came out of the hospital escorting 3 people holding their hands up in the air. Police are telling the media to excersise caution as they don’t know what is next.
Reports are also coming out from the TAJ the gunshots have been heard again as well as explosions.
UPDATE 3:16AM EST / 10:16AM IL: Israel Foreign Ministry officials report that none of the bodies found in the Oberoi Hotel are Israelis to the best of the information available to them. Mumbai media reports that a local commando commander reports seeing 12-15 bodies in one room.
In a positive note, Israeli Ambassador to India Mark Sofer reports that Rivka Holtzberg’s parents have arrived and they have been reunited with their grandson who was fortunate enough to escape his captives.
UPDATE Fri 3:45AM EST / 10:45AMIL: IBN TV reports that early on Friday morning, terrorists at the Chabad House dispatched a Jewish man outside to pick-up “supplies” for them. The report claims that he was told that if he does not return, he will be (or the remaining hostages) killed. He reportedly returned to the building. This report was not reported by any other news agency other than IBN TV.
UPDATE Fri 4:00AM EST / 11:00AM IL:: Israel Foreign Ministry reports that there still is no word on 21 Israelis in the Mumbai area. The report adds that Mumbai authorities report having secured an upper floor of the Chabad House.
UPDATE Fri 4:36AM EST / 11:36AM IL:: Mumbai security officials are reporting the Oberoi Hotel is under their control the situation at that location has been neutralized. A police chief reports there are still some people in the Taj Hotel. Fighting still reported at the Chabad House.
UPDATE Fri 4:39AM EST / 11:39AM IL: Mumbai security officials are reporting four people are still trapped in the Chabad House, including Rav Gavriel Holtzman and his wife. They also report the operation at that location should be wrapped up in the very near future.
Commandos have taken control of the rood and upper floors of the structure CNN-IBN Live is reporting.
UPDATE Fri 4:59 AM EST / 11:59 AM IL: Israel Foreign Ministry: Two Israeli businessmen evacuated from Oberoi Hotel. About 100 people were rescued from the hotel but there are reports of many dead bodies as well.
UPDATE Fri 5:59 AM EST / 12:59 PM IL: Israel Foreign Ministry: A total of 4 Israelis were rescued from the Oberoi Hotel. 17 Israelis are still missing.
UPDATE Fri 6:05 AM EST / 1:05 PM IL: Israel Foreign Ministry: Six Israelis known to be in the Mumbai Chabad House. Local security officials report heavy fighting continues at that location.
UPDATE Fri 6:21 AM EST / 1:21 PM IL: Mumbai officials reporting the death toll has reached 155. At least 327 people have been injured. Fighting continues at the Taj Hotel and at the Chabad House.
UPDATE Fri 7:06 AM EST / 2:06 PM IL: Mumbai officials reporting 8 foreigners killed and 22 wounded. The multi-pronged terror attack has been going on for some 44 hours. At this time, there are no new confirmed reports regarding the hostages in the Chabad House. A security official in Mumbai reports gunfire is ongoing and grenades are being thrown by terrorists at Chabad House. Fighting at the Taj Hotel is reported as “intense” and “continuous”.
UPDATE Fri 7:35 AM EST / 2:35 PM IL: Mumbai officials reporting a large explosion at Nariman (Chabad) House which has resulted in significant damage to the structure.
UPDATE Fri 7:49 AM EST / 2:49 PM IL: Mumbai officials report heavy fighting at the Taj Hotel. Amublances and medical personnel being dispatched.
Regarding the Chabad House, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzman and at least one other male and some females are believed still inside. Explosions are being heard and there is major damage to one wing of the building. Officials are indicating the fighting at Chabad House is in a final stage.
UPDATE Fri 7:50 AM EST / 2:50 PM IL: Israeli sources report a large hole was blown into the side of the Chabad House. The source of the report is not mentioned.
UPDATE Fri 7:51 AM EST / 2:51 PM IL: Mumbai officials report that after 44 hours and 27 minutes of warfare, 155 people have been killed and at least 327 Injured.
UPDATE Fri 7:54 AM EST / 2:54 PM IL: Mumbai officials report Chabad House encounter over! NSG commandos have taken control of the entire building. Security forces are coming out of the building signaling “Nariman House has been liberated” as the local media is describing the scene.
We are waiting for an update regarding the hostages.
UPDATE Fri 7:58 AM EST / 2:58 PM IL: Mumbai officials reporting all four terrorists in the Chabad House have been killed. There is a large crowd outside the building that appears to be attempting to rush police barricades. There is total chaos at that location after 45 hours of fighting at numerous venues in Mumbai.
At present, NSG commandos have left the structure with their arms raised in a show of victory but still no word on Chabad Shaliach Rav Gavriel Holtzberg and the other hostages.
UPDATE Fri 8:04 AM EST / 3:04 PM IL: As has been the case for the past 45 hours, reports are conflicting and there is much disinformation. NSG officials according to IBN Live are now reporting there is one more floor to secure in the Chabad House.
A group of locals estimated to be about 600 have broken through the police barricade after NSG commandos emerged from the Chabad House with their arms raised in a sign of victory.
Unfortunately, despite what may be premature celebrations at the Chabad House, there is no word regarding the Rav, his rebbitzin and the other hostages being held.
Police are now busying themselves with crowd control outside Chabad House.
UPDATE Fri 8:09 AM EST / 3:09 PM IL: Mumbai official Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor stated moments ago that the situation at the Chabad House that the situation has not been neutralized and fighting continues. There is NO information regarding hostages inside the structure. He did express optimism however that the situation will come to an end in the near future, but did not give a timetable.
Regarding the Oberoi Hotel, he adds that on Thursday and Friday, they recovered 30 bodies, including locals and foreign nationals.
At the Taj Hotel he reports one terrorist still at large, firing at security forces and hurling hand grenades.
UPDATE Fri 8:27 AM EST / 3:27 PM IL: Mumbai security officials operating at the scene of the Chabad House report NSG commando forces are now working to secure the last floor of the structure. They are stressing the operation is NOT over despite earlier reports to the contrary.
UPDATE Fri 8:32 AM EST / 3:32 PM IL: Mumbai officials are reporting “some hostages” have been taken out of the Chabad House and are on their way to hospital. This is NOT confirmed by officials sources. ZAKA volunteers operating in Mumbai are now on their way to the hospital in the hope of learning more.
UPDATE Fri 8:39AM EST / 3:39PM IL: IBNLive.com & CNN both report: Five jostages have been killed in the Chabad House.
UPDATE Fri 8:43 AM EST / 3:43 PM IL: IBNLive.com: Commandos were trying to attack the second floor from the ground while other forces were operating from the rooftop. It appears the terrorists relocated. At present, IBNLive.com is reporting NSG forces are confirming they have seen the bodies of five hostages in the Chabad House.
It appears the operation in the Chabad House is not over as reported earlier. Unfortunately, there may be no survivors. We urge Am Yisrael to continue tefillos at this time as Erez Yisrael prepares to usher in the Shabbos.
UPDATE Fri 8:47AM EST / 3:47PM IL: Ironically, the euphoria at the Chabad House was short lived and now, the situation appears to have taken a turn for the worse. All reports from various agencies point to the fact that the hostages in the Chabad House have been murdered by the terrorists.
We hope that this report will be incorrect, as have been many during the past 45 hours and we continue tefillos on behalf of the hostages. There are NO reports from official Israel Foreign Ministry sources or ZAKA in India at this time, and we use this to provide additional hope towards a good end to the situation.
This will be the last update provided from the YWN Israel Bureau, and the reports that follow will continue in real-time from the NYC office.
UPDATE Fri 8:55AM EST / 3:55AM IL: A spokeswoman with the Synchronicity Foundation told WABC on Friday morning that Alan Scherr and his 13-year-old daughter, Naomi, (both from Virginia) were killed while they were in a cafe in Mumbai. (No confirmation what their religion is.)
UPDATE Fri 10:05AM EST / 5:05PM IL: Major news networks report that the terrorists are confirmed dead, and there are reportedly 5 hostages which have been killed in the building. CNN reports that “a Rabbi and his wife are among the dead”. YWN must stress that the ZAKA personnel on the ground in India are in close contact with the Misaskim Command Center in Boro Park – where anxious family members await some news – and as of this posting have not seen the bodies of those killed.
Although the outcome appears to be turning grim, YWN will await confirmed information from ZAKA personnel who are currently staging in front of the Mumbai Chabad House.
UPDATE Fri 11:17AM EST / 6:17PM IL: YWN has confirmed via the Misaskim Comand Center in Brooklyn that just moments ago ZAKA has R”L removed two bodies (males) of Frum people from the Chabad House in Mumbai. No identifications have been made.
UPDATE Fri 11:40AM EST / 6:17PM IL: Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg HY”D, the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were R”L killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory. According to security services, the Chabad House was a pre-selected target.
Jewish communities around the world reacted with shock to the loss of the couple, who were killed Thursday at their Chabad House during a standoff between Indian military forces and terrorists.
Their toddler son, Moshe, managed to escape with his nanny some hours before Indian commandos stormed their building, known as the Nariman House, in the popular touristy neighborhood of Colaba. The Associated Press reported that the boy was unharmed, but was wearing blood-soaked pants.
UPDATE Fri 2:37PM EST / 9:37PM IL: The Misaskim Command Center in Boro Park has just received confirmation from Zaka personnel (non-Jewish due to Shabbos) on the ground in India, that a 6th murdered victim has been found at the Chabad House in Mumbai. The victim is reported to be a female – and at this time she has not been identified. There is a possibility that she may be a local civilian who was taken hostage as well.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Channel 1 TV that some of the victims had been bound, and the two women who were slain had been killed many hours earlier R”L.
Meanwhile, four Israelis are among the group of hostages that were rescued by Indian special forces from the Oberoi Trident Hotel on Friday, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official in Mumbai told the Jerusalem Post.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that she had spoken spoke to Israeli Ambassador to India Mark Sofer, who informed her that after the four Israelis were found in the Oberoi hotel, 17 Israelis were still unaccounted for in Mumbai.
NOTE: We apologize to all those who have been unable to access the YWN Website, but we have gotten many hundreds of thousands of hits in the past few hours, crashing our servers numerous times. Our technical staff is aggressively working to correct the problem.
YWN continues to monitor the situation, and will bring you the latest as soon as we have confirmed information from our highly credible sources.
(Yehuda Drudgestein – YWN NYC NewsRoom / Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel Desk / YW-99)