UNFORTUNATELY THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS JUST CONFIRMED THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS IN THE CHABAD HOUSE. MAY THEIR FAMILIES BE COMFORTED BY HASHM.
MAY WE BLESS HASHM IN HIS MERCY FOR RETURNING THEIR CHILD TO THE ARMS OF HIS FAMILY. MAY HE GROW FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.
UPDATE: 8 ISRAELIS WERE NOT HOSTAGE IN CHABAD HOUSE, THEY WERE HIDING IN ADJOINING HOUSE. CHABAD HOSTAGES STILL BEING HELD!
Report: Escapees from Chabad House Were Not Rescued
(IsraelNN.com) Indian media services cited by Channel 1 television Thursday evening said that seven or eight people who left Nariman House complex earlier in the evening hid at the time of the terror attacks on Wednesday and took advantage of the opportunity to escape.
The media said that Indian security services have not put a move on the two or three terrorists holding Israelis hostage in the Chabad House within the complex
State official: 8 hostages freed from Mumbai Chabad House
Nov 27, 2008 2:29 | Updated Nov 27, 2008 21:08
By DAVID HOROVITZ, MATTHEW WAGNER, AND JPOST.COM STAFF
Eight Jewish hostages held by Islamic terrorists were released from the Chabad House in Mumbai on Thursday evening in an Indian commando operation, according to a state official.
Mumbai Beit Chabad under siege
The condition and identities of the hostages were unclear, but Israel Radio reported seven hostages were members of the same family.
The commando raid was continuing, however, with the remaining members of the five families taken hostage still being held.
Israel Radio reported that Indian forces were searching for other gunmen inside the building but that not a single a shot has been fired in the last hours of the building's takeover by Indian security forces.
Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that the information received by Israel was only "partial" and that the Foreign Ministry could not confirm that eight hostages had been freed.
Also, Channel 2 reported that one of the hostages had been forced at gunpoint to call the Israeli Consulate in New Delhi with the captors' demand for the release of several Islamic terrorists from Indian jails.
A rabbi, his wife and several other Israelis had been held hostage, according to IBN, an Indian news agency.
Newscasters were calling the raid the "final assault" on the Nariman House, where Chabad headquarters are located, adjacent to the Leopold Cafe, a major tourist center in Mumbai's Colaba area, which was also attacked Wednesday night.
Chabad spokesman in Israel, Moni Ender, said there had been eight Israelis inside the house, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg.
According to a Foreign Ministry estimate, a total of between 10 and 15 Israelis were being held by terrorists at both the Chabad House and the Oberoi Hotel.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Channel 2 that of the 119 listed as dead in the attacks, none were Israeli.
Several senior Indian police and security officers were killed in the joint attack, which caused police to take more cautious measures before storming the Chabad House, said Indian reporters.
Earlier, Reuters reported that one terrorist had been killed by Indian special forces in the Chabad House, but four others still remained barricaded inside, where they were holding off efforts to reach those inside.
On Thursday morning, Moshe Holtzberg, the toddler son of the Chabad emissaries, was rushed from the house in the arms of one of the Chabad House's employees, Sandra Samuel.
"I took the child, I just grabbed the baby and ran out," said Samuel, 44, who has worked as a cook for the center for the last five years.
She said that the rabbi and his wife, along with two other unidentified guests, were alive but unconscious.
"Pray that we should hear good news," urged a Chabad spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem Post from New York in the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel time.
Shmotkin also said that the gunmen had seized a police vehicle, which allowed them access to the area around the Chabad House.
Joshua Runyan, the news editor of the Chabad.org/news website, told the Post that there had been "several reports that shots were fired in the vicinity of the Chabad House, and unconfirmed reports on CNN of casualties in the Nariman House." Nariman House, Runyan said, was the original name of the Chabad House, which was purchased two years ago.
Runyan, who is currently in Jerusalem, said that a friend of the rabbi's had received an email from Holtzberg, unrelated to the attacks, at around the time of the attacks or shortly before they began, but that there had been no contact with Holtzberg since. "Since then, we've been trying all the numbers," he said.
Indian news agencies reported that three people were killed in or close to the Chabad House. The dead were not hostages, the reports said.
Phone calls by the Post to the Chabad House and to the Holtzbergs went unanswered late Wednesday night and in the early hours of Thursday morning. Friends of the Holtzbergs placed messages on various Internet sites appealing for information about them.
Israel Radio reported that consulate staff were visiting local hospitals. Runyan said the Chabad House was a popular tourist destination and that "Israelis regularly come by and visit."
In an article on the chabad.org Web site, Runyan wrote that "Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in New York and Israel are working alongside the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the US Consulate in Mumbai and a volunteer team of local residents to ascertain the well being of the Holtzbergs and other Jews in the area."
He added, "People are urged to say Psalms for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, and anyone affected by the tragedy."
AP, Elie Leshem and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.