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Five hostages reported dead in Jewish centre

Video by Clément MASSE


Latest update : 2008-11-29

Five hostages were found dead as police raided the besieged Chabad center in Mumbai, according to the city's police chief. The gunmen had been holding several hostages, including a rabbi and his wife who were killed in the standoff.

A Brooklyn-based rabbi and his wife were killed in the siege on a Jewish center in Mumbai as part of the coordinated attacks on India's financial center, their New York-based organization said on Friday.

"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.

Gunmen had attacked the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Community Center in Mumbai's Colaba district and took hostages, prompting Indian security forces to storm the center.

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 Rivkah Rosenberg, was a native of Afula, Israel.

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.

Their 18-month old son, Moshe, was rescued early on Thursday morning and was in the custody of friends, the Chabad
center said.

"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."

Indian officials have said at least 124 people have been killed in the two-day standoff. It was not clear how many of the dead were foreigners but the group that led the assault on India's financial capital seemed to be seeking out Westerners.

Date created : 2008-11-28