Explosion at Chabad house
Photo: AFP
Commandos drop onto center's roof
Photo: AP
Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg
Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon

Report: 5 hostages found dead in Chabad house

Indian CNN television channel reports operation at Jewish center concludes as commandos take over building, killing all terrorists on site. Five bodies of hostages found, believed to include those of rabbi and wife

The bodies of five hostages were found on Friday after Indian security forces attacked gunmen at a Jewish religious center in Mumbai, an Israeli diplomat told Israeli television by telephone from the scene.


"The incident has not ended," Haim Choshen told Channel 2. "Five bodies of hostages have been found inside the Chabad House." Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka had been held in the house.


Commandos have been operating at the Chabad house since early Friday morning and took over the building, killing all the terrorists on site. They also found five bodies which appeared to be of hostages, the country's National Security Guards chief said.


A spokesman for Zaka stated that staff members sent to Mumbai to help at the siege believed that the hostages in the Chabad house had died.


"Apparently the hostages did not remain alive," the Zaka service said in a brief statement quoting its staff in Mumbai. It did not identify the hostages nor say how many may have died.


Earlier Friday the forces blew a hole in one of the building's walls, and shortly afterwards people were seen exiting the building. Local media reported that the troops left the place smiling.


The special operation lasted 10 hours.

Explosion at Chabad house (Photo: AFP)


Early Friday morning masked Indian commandos dropped from helicopters onto the roof of the Chabad house where suspected Muslim terrorists were holed up, possibly with hostages, as sharpshooters kept up a steady stream of fire at the five-story building.


The assault came as commandos freed nearly 100 captives from the nearby Oberoi Hotel as they searched the building for attackers still holed up more than a day after a chain of attacks across India's financial center by the militants left at least 130 people dead.


Israel's ambassador to India said he believed nine Israeli nationals were still being held hostage by gunmen at the place.


"We are estimating, and it's pretty much an educated guess, somewhere around six, maybe a little bit more, but I don't have complete information on that," Mark Sofer told Times Now television.


"A couple of days ago an Indian caregiver managed to escape with a tiny baby belonging to the rabbi in Chabad House, but the rabbi and his wife are still inside."


Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.28.08, 15:04
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