The Chabad-Lubavitch movement in NY confirmed that Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, were murdered along with four other hostages in the terror attack on the Chabad house in Mumbai.
The bodies of five hostages were found by Indian security forces on Friday after commando troops attacked gunmen at the Jewish center run by the couple. A few hours later the Foreign Ministry reported that another body had been found in the house.
Commando forces overran the building, killing all of the terrorists within. The operation lasted over 24 hours, and at its end the six bodies were taken to the hospital for identification.
Gavriel and Rivka, aged 29 and 26 respectively, first arrived in Mumbai as Chabad emissaries five years ago, after completing a mission in Thailand. They resided in the house together with their 2-year old son, Moshe, who was rescued from the attack by his nanny.
Gavriel Holtzberg grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where his parents still reside. They arrived in Israel Friday morning, before reports of the tragedy were released. The bodies of Gavriel and Rivka were identified a few hours after the commando operation had come to an end.
Frida, Gavriel's mother, told of the couple's commitment to the Chabad center in Mumbai. "There is no
other couple like them, they did so much for strangers," she said. "They helped people with money, with everything they could. They gave themselves completely to others."
Rivka's parents, who reside in Afula, left for Mumbai earlier this week together with a ZAKA party that included a doctor, a paramedic, and four aids. They were reunited with their grandchild, Moshe, and now plan to return with him to Israel.