Before The Mumbai Attacks

The drama started weeks before the terrorist attacks – at a Jewish residential complex In Mumbai run by the Chabad-Lubavitch ultra-orthodox movement.

From CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
“In a telephone interview with CBC News from outside the centre, freelance journalist Arun Asthhana said there are reports that some of the militants had stayed at a guest house there for up to 15 days before the attacks.
“They had a huge mass of ammunition, arms and food there,” Asthhana said.
That some stayed there before the attacks seem no longer in question. Later news reports state that the terrorists came to Nariman House posing as Malaysian students and were given lodging. Why Ultra-orthodox Jews would give lodging to these unknown Malaysian Muslim students is baffling; they could have been ‘terrorists’. After all they did not know them.
However, it is well known that those housing quarters are rented only to religious Jews passing through Mumbai, so much so that the Indian Police wanted to know why they were rented to non-Jews in this instance.

From Guardian of UK
“Locals said the owners of Nariman House was a Jewish Israeli family who rented out flats to other religious Jews.”

From Mid-Day News (MID-DAY is a 28 year old well respected media establishment in Mumbai):
“The role that Nariman House is coming to play in this entire attack drama is puzzling. Last night, residents ordered close to 100 kilograms of meat and other food, enough to feed an army or a bunch of people for twenty days. Shortly thereafter, the ten odd militants moved in, obviously, indicating that the food and meat was ordered, keeping their visit in mind, another cop added.”

From DNA INDIA is another well-established, well-known Indian Media house.
“The terrorists came to Colaba on Wednesday evening,” Mukund Shelke, who runs a grocery shop at Colaba Market, said. “Before barging into Nariman House, they had purchased adequate food to last them at least three days,” he said.
“They had purchased around two crates of chicken and liquor worth Rs25,000 from two shops in Colaba,” another resident Joseph D’Mello said.
Here the quote says that “they” had purchased the food, and from the text, which would be a translation of the eyewitness account, it would suggest that the terrorists did the shopping. But the policeman’s report and quote is more credible because any group of terrorists going to take over a place during a city-wide attack would not stop to do shopping first, selecting meat, and liquor and other items, unless of course they were right at home.

From Mid-Day News
“Mumbai: India’s financial capital, Mumbai seems to be going through its longest night for the last two days. Wednesday, 9.40 pm, the affluent south Mumbai was struck by terrorists, at 12 different locations, including the VT station, a hub for all railway trains, to two of the most luxurious hotels, Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident.
24 hours later, the attention has riveted to these hotels, and a tiny nondescript building, barely a few meters away from the Taj Mahal hotel. Housing a five-storied guest house for Israeli nationals, this building is turning out to be the ‘den’ for the militants.
“I saw 6 to 7 boats coming in on Wednesday evening and about ten people unloaded many bags from these boats and then gradually took them into the building, Nariman House’, Vitthal Tandel, a fisherman in the area said. “The building has many rooms and these are used as guest houses by travelers, largely Israeli residents. None of us know what their names are”, he said.
“Virendra Ghunawat, a television journalist who has been tracking the Nariman House shootout since the time it took place Wednesday night, said even the cops have been cagey about details”.

From the Guardian of UK
“They came by sea, on a small skiff, and made their way in the dark through the narrow streets of old Colaba to the six-storey apartment building called Nariman House. There they stayed – an unknown number of mystery gunmen who besieged the building from the inside.”

From The New York Times
“When the terrorists landed in front of Mr. Dhanur’s boat, they were just three blocks straight down a narrow lane from Nariman House, a five-storey building housing a Jewish center run by a young Rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, and his wife, Rivka, who had moved from New York.
But the attack does not appear to have started there. According to India’s Home Ministry, the first shots were fired at the train station, and soon after that at the Leopold Café.”
The account of eyewitnesses and the earliest reports are very clear. The ‘terrorists’ went into Nariman House. Later reports keep insisting that they ‘stormed’ the house.
What did they look like?
At least some of the terrorists were fair-skinned foreigners.

From the Guardian of UK
One police officer who encountered the gunmen as they entered the Jewish centre told the Guardian the attackers were “white”
“I went into the building late last night,” he said. “I got a shock because they were white. I was expecting them to look like us. They fired three shots. I fired 10 back.”
Now, Indians know fair skinned Indians and Pakistanis. They meet them every day, especially in Mumbai, where all the upper class Indians congregate. Indians know foreigners and they call Americans and Europeans “foreigners” or “white”. It is easy for an Indian to tell the difference between a fair skinned Indian or Pakistani and a “foreigner”
Other eyewitnesses at other locations also describe the terrorists as “foreign” or fair skinned.

From the BBc
Then, the “foreign looking, fair skinned” men, as Mr Mishra remembers them, simply carried on killing.
“They did not look Indian, they looked foreign. One of them, I thought, had blonde hair. The other had a punkish hairstyle. They were neatly dressed,” says Mr Amir.

From DNA India
“Some residents claimed that the suspects were keeping track of the police’s movements through a television in Nariman House.
“When the news of top police officials getting killed flashed in the television, we heard loud noises from the flat. It seemed they were celebrating,” Anand Raorane, a resident in a building opposite Nariman House, said.”
Some in India claim that the terrorists were targeting some of India’s top anti-terrorist officers, and indeed a number of top officers including Hemant Karare, who were in the process of investigating an explosive case of terrorist activities by army officers and politicians, were killed. It is very strange that these exceptionally experienced men would so easily be killed. Some reports say they were ambushed. It was at the time that the news of these men’s demise was announced that sounds of celebration came from the Chabad office.

From TIMES ONLINE
“At least five terrorist gunmen might have escaped the carnage in Mumbai and could strike again, it emerged yesterday as a video surfaced showing the capture of the gang’s sole known surviving member.”
“However, a hijacked Indian fishing boat used by the gunmen had equipment for 15 men on board when it was discovered adrift – suggesting that several gunmen could still be at large.”
“Fifteen winter jackets were found, fifteen toothbrushes,” a police source said. “That more terrorists are loose is possible.”
Again there are conflicting reports on the number of terrorists and possible hostages that were in Nariman House. At the end of the seige by security forces, there were six bodies of hostages found. Some reports insist five bodies were found plus two alleged terrorists. This will remain unclear until Indian security personnel who conducted the raid tell their stories.
It would seem from many eyewitness reports and local media that as the standoff continued, there were only two ‘hostages’, the Rabbi and his wife, and the rest were terrorists.

From Times Online:
“At least five terrorist gunmen might have escaped the carnage in Mumbai and could strike again, it emerged yesterday as a video surfaced showing the capture of the gang’s sole known surviving member.”
Were the missing five the same persons who were killed at Chabad?

From the Jerusalem Post:
“The nanny who saved two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg from the attack at Mumbai’s Chabad House on Thursday is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday along with the child, his grandparents and the bodies of his parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg.”
“She expressed a desire to accompany Moshe back to Israel on a special flight sent by the Israel Air Force. The toddler was reunited with his Israeli grandparents, Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg, on Friday.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday that her office was working to arrange for Samuel’s arrival in Israel, while the Interior Ministry was considering bestowing upon her the status of “Righteous Gentile,” which would allow her to remain in the country for an extended period of time”.

From the Indian Express:
“The orphaned two-year-old baby Moshe and his nanny Sandra Samuel, along with his maternal grandparents, left for Israel tonight in a special Israeli military aircraft from Mumbai.”

From The India Telegraph:
“Dec. 1: Israel is planning to issue an immigration permit to the Indian nanny who saved two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg while his Jewish parents died in the Nariman House attack.
Foreign minister Tzipi Livni told the cabinet yesterday that her ministry was working to grant the nanny, Sandra Samuel, a residency permit so she could live there.”
Sandra Samuel has made an absolutely amazing and admirable choice, to leave her own family and relatives and go to live in israel with baby Moshe.
Lets see what comes of it.

From: The India Telegraph
“Israel has requested India not to conduct post-mortems on its nationals killed in the Nariman House siege, citing what it said were “privacy and religious reasons”.
“The request for not doing the post-mortem is based on privacy as well as some religious reasons,” an official of the Israeli embassy here said. According to the information with the mission, seven of the nine killed in the attack were Israeli nationals, all of them Jews.”

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