UPDATE- November 29, 2008 – As reported by AKI news service, Al-Qaeda websites have been “swamped with messages from people who were celebrating the devastating Mumbai attacks. . . Oh Allah, destroy the Hindus and do it in the worst of ways, was one of the comments that appeared on Islamist forums on the Internet immediately after the attacks.
The battle that is underway in Mumbai is a battle for Allah between its servants and the infidels, said another message published on the al-Falluja forum.
Several Al-Qaeda sites also posted several pictures of the victims in Mumbai and provocative statements. . .”
MUMBAI: How The Times of India reported the siege at the Chabad Center
“The commando raid was agreed by the Indian and Israeli governments when it appeared that the chances of finding living hostages in the Chabad Center were declining as time went by.” –Source DEBKAfile.
MUMBAI: (The Times of India)- The two-day siege of Nariman House ended at 8 pm on Friday [Mumbai time] with NSG commandos storming the building and killing two terrorists.
Five people who were held hostage in the Jewish service centre also died. Confirming the deaths, NSG director general J K Dutt said, “A huge cache of arms and ammunition was seized from the structure.” An NSG commando, Gajendra Singh, was among those killed.
A total of 14 people were rescued from the building, said sources. The rabbi of ultra-orthodox Chabad Lubavitch Movement of Hasidic Jews, Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and six others were taken hostage by terrorists. However, additional commissioner of police (south region) K Venkatesham said, “We are yet to establish the identities of the hostages killed.”
The couple’s two-year-old son and his nanny had managed to escape the building on Thursday. Incidentally, the only time the firing and bombing ceased inside the structure after Friday noon was between 1 pm and 2 pm. However, firing resumed soon after 2 pm and continued incessantly in the building.
Though the commandos reached the building’s terrace in a helicopter and took their positions, they seemed unable to enter the fourth floor until 6 pm when the terrorists blew up the large window pane of the third floor. The highly-trained terrorists, said cops, were continuously changing their position from floor to floor. All the window panes were covered with curtains, making it difficult for commandos to gauge the action inside.
Around 6.40 pm, locals gathered on the road near the building and started shouting slogans thinking that the operation was over. However, barely 15 minutes later, the locals and the police realised that the operation was still on. Police had to resort to a volley of stern announcements to quieten the excited revellers. The entire Colaba market area, where Nariman House is located, had turned into a battle ground.
Police jeeps, fire brigade vehicles and ambulances, along with BEST buses were parked in the lanes and bylanes. Sniffer dogs from the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and the NSG were taken near the building to check if any explosive had been planted around the building.
A pall of gloom hung over Colaba Market, which is one of the busiest places in the vicinity. Occupants of the nearby buildings had gathered on the terraces of their buildings to catch a glimpse of the action. Residents of five buildings located near the Nariman House, who were evacuated on Wednesday night, also gathered on the road to witness the encounter. Around 3.15 pm, the commandos waved a piece of red cloth from the fourth floor, signalling their counterparts.
Within seconds, the cloth was removed and the gun battle began. It was the time when the terrorists started firing relentlessly from the window. Ten minutes later, the red cloth was up again and remained there till the terrorists blew up the window pane. In the next one hour, around 25 hand grenades went off inside the building. The loudest blast was heard around 5.45 pm, in which the large window on the third floor was blown up.
Footage of commandos being airdropped onto the Chabad Center can be seen at: http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/video/video.aspx?id=45577
(Photo Credit: Suz Kosh)
Ed. Note: Earlier this month Israel and India expanded its defence ties. A high level delegation from India, led by defence secretary Vijay Singh, held talks in Israel with their Israeli counterparts under the joint working group on defence cooperation. According to The Times of India discussions included “joint R&D projects, missile defence, procurements, intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism strategies. . .”
India’s government has also approved a “project with Israel to develop a new-generation surface-to-air missile system, capable of detecting and destroying hostile aircraft and spy drones at a range of 120-km, to boost IAF’s air defence capabilities.”
The latest information from Mumbai can be seen on the following English language Indian TV site: http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/video/video_live.aspx?id=0