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Asia-pacific

Israeli hostage death toll rises to eight in Mumbai

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Video by Clément MASSE

Latest update : 2008-11-29

Eight Israelis, including a rabbi and his wife, were killed when Islamic militants stormed a Jewish cultural centre and several other locations around Mumbai, India, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

(AFP) - Eight Israelis were killed in the attacks by Islamist militants that ravaged the Indian commercial capital Mumbai, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.
   
"Eight bodies have been identified as being those of Israelis, some of them with dual Israeli and US nationality," the spokesman said.
   
Six were killed in Chabad House, a Jewish cultural centre that was stormed by Indian commandos on Friday, and the other two died in attacks elsewhere in the city.
   
The spokesman added that another four Israelis still remained unaccounted for.
   
Israeli news websites said that the three dead with dual Israeli and US nationality were the director of Chabad House, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and two male staff who supervised Jewish dietary laws.
   
Three Israeli women, including the rabbi's wife Rivka, were also killed at the cultural centre.
   
The Holtzbergs' toddler son Moshe was rescued by the centre's cook, Sandra Samuel, 44, who also worked as his nanny and who escaped with him and a caretaker 12 hours into the siege.
   
Defence Minister Ehud Barak said some of the bodies had been tied up, and that two of the dead women had been killed many hours before.
   
"All in all, it was a difficult spectacle," the Internet edition of the Haaretz newspaper quoted Barak as saying late Friday.
   
While acknowledging the complexity of ending the attacks across sprawling Mumbai, Barak said: "I'm not sure it had to last three days, but that's what happened."
   
He said Israel had offered all manner of help to India, including assistance "that is inappropriate to detail here."
   
But embassy officials in India cautioned Israelis not to rush to criticism of the Indian commando operation in Chabad House despite the deaths of the hostages.
   
"This emphasises the need for all the international community, not just India and Israel, to act in a coordinated manner against terrorism," the embassy's deputy chief of mission Eli Belotsercovsky told Haartez.
   
The paper quoted another Israeli diplomat as saying: "Particularly in the present situation we have an important strategic relationship with them and we stand with them in a shared struggle against terrorism."
   
Israeli websites said the bodies of the dead would be flown home for burial on Sunday.
 

Date created : 2008-11-29

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