On Monday, India solemnly commemorated the 10th anniversary of a series of horrifying attacks in Mumbai, in which 10 Pakistani Islamist terrorists killed 166 people including a rabbi, his pregnant wife, and four other victims who were targeted for being Jewish.
The US State Department marked the day by offering a new $5 million reward for the capture of the remaining attackers while calling on Pakistan to cooperate in bringing the terrorists to justice. The U.S. already has a $10 million bounty offered for Hafez Saeed, the mastermind of the attacks, and $2 million for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, two leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan. Pakistan arrested Saeed, intermittently placing him under house arrest but released him last year.
“It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after 10 years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have still not been convicted for their involvement,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
On November 26, 2008, 10 members of LeT landed on a beach in dinghies. Over the next four days, they carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, (formerly known as Bombay) the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. The attacks included a siege of the Taj Hotel in which the terrorists held hundreds of hostages at gunpoint. Also targeted by the terrorists was a hospital for women and children, which was saved by alert staff who locked the doors while being attacked.
On the first day of the attacks, the Nariman House, an outreach center for Chabad Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Judaism, was taken over by two terrorists. On the first day, 9 hostages were rescued from the first floor. The following day, the house was stormed by commandos fast-roping from helicopters onto the roof, covered by snipers positioned in nearby buildings. After a long battle, one commando and both perpetrators were killed.
Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka,, who was six months pregnant, were murdered with four other hostages inside the house by the attackers. Wounds on some of the bodies indicated that they may have been tortured and mutilated. Several of the bodies were covered in tallit (four-cornered fringed prayer shawl) including Rivka Holtzberg’s, leading witnesses to speculate that the rabbi managed to cover the bodies before he was killed.The rabbi’s two-year-old son, Moshe, was rescued by his Christian Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who hid in a closet, coming out when she heard the boy calling her name. She found him covered in blood, standing over his parents’ bodies. Samuel grabbed the boy and ran from the house.
Sources investigating the series of attacks discovered the Chabad House was prominent, perhaps the most prominent, target in the eyes of the attackers. DNA, an English language Indian news site, made this claim two months after the attack.
“The terrorists themselves were in no doubt that Nariman House was the prime focus,” the DNA article read. “For this was the place which housed a Jewish centre, and the fanatics from Pakistan were clear that they wanted to send a message to the world from there.”
“The Mumbai crime branch, which is investigating the terror attacks, has found that the terrorists’ handlers in Pakistan were clear this operation should not fail under any circumstances. The rest of the operations…were intended to amplify the effect.”
According to radio transmissions picked up by Indian intelligence, the attackers “would be told by their handlers in Pakistan that the lives of Jews were worth 50 times those of non-Jews.”
Moshe, the Holtzberg’s orphaned son, lives with his grandparents in Israel. Samuel, the Indian nanny who save baby Moshe, now lives in Israel after being granted honorary citizenship in 2010. Samuel later revealed in an interview that she was not supposed to be at the Chabad house that evening because she usually visited one of her sons on Wednesday evenings. She stated that “God kept me there because God already knew what would happen.”She works for ALEH in Jerusalem and still has a relationship with Moshe.
Source: Israel in the News