Bodies of six Israelis killed in Mumbai attacks to be flown home


Tel Aviv : An Israel Air Force plane is expected to fly the bodies of six Israelis and Jews killed in the Mumbai terrorist attacks to Tel Aviv later Monday.

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Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the bodies of six Israelis and Jews killed in Mumbai’s Nariman House have been identified so far.

He said Indian authorities believe there are two more bodies of hostages killed in the Jewish centre based in Nariman House, but Israel was uncertain if this is the case.

All Israelis thought missing in Mumbai have meanwhile been accounted for, after the last one or two contacted their families, he said.

The six identified bodies include those of Israeli-born American Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his Israeli wife Rivka, both in their late 20s, who ran the Jewish centre of the global, but Brooklyn-based ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement.

The couple’s two-year-old son, Moishe, who was rescued by his Indian nanny, will also be flying to Israel with his Israeli grandparents.

The Israel Air Force plane which is to take the bodies to Israel landed in Mumbai early Tuesday with Israeli foreign ministry representatives and Israeli police identification experts on board.

The team, as well as dozens of local Jewish community members, attended a memorial service Tuesday at a Mumbai synagogue for the victims killed in the Jewish centre.

Rivka Holtzberg’s father, who had flown in from Israel Friday, during the ceremony thanked his grandson’s nanny, Sandra Samual, for “her presence of mind” which he said had saved the boy from “certain” death, Israeli media reported.

Samual told Israel’s biggest-selling daily Yediot Ahronot that she had run upstairs when she heard the boy, whom she had put to bed earlier in the evening, cry out for her. She found him standing next to his parent’s motionless and blood-soaked bodies, grabbed him and ran outside after having hid for more than 12 hours in the building’s storage room amid gunfire and explosions.

The rescue story has moved Israelis and received widespread coverage in the Israeli media. The boy’s grandparents are trying to obtain an Israeli visa for her so that she can continue to care for