[UPDATED AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE] LAST UPDATE 9:02PM IL: Following are some of the facts being released shortly after Shabbos in Eretz Yisrael pertaining to the Kedoshim in Mumbai HY”D. information is sketchy as ZAKA volunteers on the scene continue working to expedite the kvura of the victims.
• It appears that Rebbitzin Rivka HY”D was killed the first night of the attack based on the state of her body when it was recovered on erev Shabbos, referring to rigor mortis. The body was covered with a tallis when rescuers arrived, which we presume was done by the rav, whose body was found on a different floor. Rav Gavriel Noach HY”D appears to have been murdered shortly before the event ended. ZAKA volunteers reported his body was still warm when they received it from local officials on erev Shabbos.
• The bodies of two females HY”D were found with telephone cord wrapped around them.
• The body of R’ Bentzion Chroman HY”D was brought by local authorities to ZAKA at the entrance to the Chabad House. All they know is that he was murdered on the 5th floor.
• Terrorists placed booby traps and hand grenades in the hands of the victims, making their identification and evacuation significantly more dangerous and complicated.
• A local physician who knew the Holtzbergs assisted in identifying their bodies. He appears to be working with ZAKA as they try to prevent autopsies.
• ZAKA head Yehuda Meshi-Zahav remains in constant touch with Maran HaRav Elyashiv Shlita as he did erev Shabbos pertaining to the many questions, which included how and when to notify the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe Shlita.
• Shabbos was the second birthday of Moishele Holtzberg, who no longer has parents to celebrate the day with him. May HaKadosh Baruch Hu give him the strength he will require during this difficult period, along with his grandparents, the entire family and the extended family of Chabad shlichim worldwide.
• According to a Kol Chai Radio report on Motzei Shabbos, the entire five-story building that housed the Chabad House was trashed. “There was not a room that was not destroyed. Every book in the library was ransacked and items thrown around. The entire building was destroyed. The only thing that remained untouched was a picture in a glass frame of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT”L on a wall in the library.”
• Shimon Grossman, a member of the ZAKA team in Mumbai and a relative of Rivka Holtzman reports dealing with the removal of the bodies is extremely difficult due to the fact the building and bodies are booby trapped. He also reports authorities are insisting on performing autopsies but they continue efforts to prevent them.
Chabad has set up a fund to help the family and rebuild the Chabad House in Mumbai which was seriously damaged in the terrorist attack.
Donations can be made online at http://www.chabadindia.org.
On a personal note: For those who recall Parshas Vayera (1994). It was a Friday night, not too long after Shabbos began in Eretz Yisrael. A failed rescue attempt by an IDF Sayeret Matkal unit resulted in the deaths of the team leader Captain Nir Poraz HY”D and the soldier they tried to rescue, Sergeant Nachshon Wachsman HY”D.
The point – for those who remember that week, the entire global Jewish community was united — davening on his behalf. Shabbos candles were lit with tears streaming down the eyes of b’nos yisrael, who davened for Nachshon.
There was achdus!
This past week, Parshas Toldos, the scene was the same, achdus! Yidden around the world were not interested in the political or religious affiliation of the hostages. We were one!
Jews around the world davened for the safe release of the Chabad Shaliach, his wife, their children, the mashgichim and the others. The differences in their hashkafa became irrelevant. They were Jews in trouble.
YWN worked round-the-clock to provide readers with up-to-date information in the hope of permitting readers around the world to ‘be there’ with the hostages as much as possible.
The ending was tragic, but if we lose the achdus brought about by the Kedoshim, it will be even more tragic.
9:01PM IL – Israeli media is reporting that officials in Mumbai are now agreeing to back down from demands to perform autopsies on the Kedoshim.
The terrorists were preparing for seven months before the attack and two of them were employed in the Taj Hotel, explaining their familiarity with the building.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)