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Americans mourn losses, condemn attacks

Video by Clément MASSE

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-11-29

Among the three US citizens confirmed killed in the attacks was a Brooklyn rabbi and his wife. President George W. Bush and president-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, both issued statements condemning the attacks.

Read our special report: 'Terror in Mumbai'

 

Mumbai gunmen 'showed no remorse'

 

 

WASHINGTON - At least three U.S. citizens, including a Brooklyn rabbi, were killed in militant attacks in Mumbai, India, and the State Department said more Americans were at risk.

 

President George W. Bush said he was deeply saddened and the United States was working with India's government to ensure the safety of those still under threat.

 

"We will continue to cooperate against these extremists who offer nothing but violence and hopelessness," Bush said in a statement.

 

President-elect Barack Obama also expressed condolences about what he called "outrageous terrorist attacks in Mumbai," and said he fully supported the Bush administration's efforts to protect U.S. citizens in India.

 

"These terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India's great democracy, nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them," Obama said in a statement. "The United States must stand with India and all nations and people who are committed to destroying terrorist networks, and defeating their hate-filled ideology."

 

The Virginia-based Synchronicity Foundation said on its website that Alan Scherr and his 13-year-old daughter, Naomi, Americans who were in India as part of a meditation program, died in the attacks that have killed at least 144 people and wounded 283 more.

 

The New York office of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish group said a Brooklyn rabbi and his wife were killed in the siege on a Jewish center in Mumbai as part of the coordinated attacks. The rabbi was a dual U.S.-Israeli national and his wife Israeli, the group said.

 

"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's son, Moshe, who turns 2 on Saturday, escaped with his nanny, who brought him to a local hospital. The boy was now in the custody of the mother's parents, who had traveled to India from Israel, the group said.

 

Rabbi Chaim Cunin, an official at the Chabad center in Los Angeles, said two other rabbis, Leibish Teitelbaum and Bentzion Chroman, were also killed in the attack. He said they were Israeli citizens, but could not rule out they also held U.S. passports.

 

U.S. WORKING WITH INDIA

 

State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said, "There are still Americans at risk on the ground and we want to be very, very careful with any facts."

 

Senior Bush administration officials met on Friday afternoon for more discussions about the attacks, said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. She said they were focused on "ensuring everything possible is being done to help American citizens affected by these horrible attacks."

 

The Bush administration also continued to work with the Indian government at all levels, and had offered assistance and support, Perino said. She said Bush had received regular updates since the attacks on Wednesday night.

 

Indian commandos stormed the Jewish center, killing two suspected Islamist gunmen but failing to save five hostages. Early on Saturday, gunfire and explosions rocked the luxury Taj Mahal hotel where many foreigners stay in Mumbai.

 

Duguid said a State Department hot line had received about 1,500 calls for information about friends and relatives.

 

U.S. consular staff are stationed at hotels affected by the attacks as well as hospitals in order to identify Americans in need of help as quickly as possible, he said.

 

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had over the past 36 hours spoken to India's foreign minister as well as Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, said Duguid.

 

Rice also called Obama twice to brief him, said Duguid. Aides to Obama said he also received an intelligence briefing on the attacks.

Date created : 2008-11-29

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