Israel praises Indian rescue effortsForeign Ministry denies reports that it criticized Indian commando operation during Chabad center standoff in Mumbai. Prime Minister Olmert says government never considered sending forces to back 'trained, proficient' Indian army
|As internal criticism of what was viewed as the poor intelligence and security handling of the Mumbai terror attacks continued to rise, Israel decided to send a forensics team along with Defense Ministry and Shin Bet representatives to assist the Indian authorities.
A Foreign Ministry announcement published Sunday said, "The Foreign Ministry denies any and all publications stating that Israel has criticized Indian commando activity in the freeing of the Chabad house."
Yossi Levy, the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson for domestic media, stressed that "from the very beginning, the Indians cooperated with Israel on the most senior levels, including intelligence information and any aid that Israel requested".
Levy went on to say that Israel was "convinced that the Indian forces did everything in their power to avoid harming the captives and civilians during the storming of the Chabad house.
"The relations between Israel and India are based on deep and joint understandings that have passed the test in these moments of crisis," he said.
Indian army 'trained and skilled'Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also praised his counterparts in New Delhi and Mumbai, and at the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting thanked the Indian authorities for their cooperation and care for the Jewish and Israeli hostages. Olmert also stressed that at no point was sending Israeli forces to assist the "trained and skilled" Indian army considered. "The images of the Jewish victims and the horrific sight of the Chabad house managers wrapped in prayer shawls are shocking and take us back to images from history that we hoped wouldn't repeat themselves," Olmert said. "But it seems that the hatred of Jews and Israelis is what spurs these horrible deeds. "Last week marked one of the worse acts of terror ever to take place in India. These acts are the fruit of unrestrained extreme Islam, that is trying to sew death and destruction wherever it can." Regarding the investigation to take place over the next few days, Olmert said Israel has offered full cooperation and aid to the Indian government, and added that the Israeli government was "doing and will continue to do" whatever it takes to defense Jewish institutes around the world. Before the cabinet meeting, several ministers suggested providing further security to Chabad houses around the world. Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said, "We must examine ways to defend and secure Chabad houses, were tens of thousands of sons of Israel enter and leave." Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim said, "Chabad has a responsibility towards Israelis that show up at its institutes around the world. The professional bodies in Israel should instruct the organization on what to do to protect them." Meanwhile, tensions were on the rise in the Indian sub-continent as some of the intelligence and security officials have reached their own conclusions and announced their resignation. Roni Sofer contributed to this report
Captured terrorist says Israelis were specifically targeted in Mumbai
DEBKAfile Special Report
November 30, 2008, 2:20 PM (GMT+02:00)
Islamist terrorist Azzam Amir Kassab, 21: A brutal killing machine captured alive
The captured terrorist, Azam Amir Kasab told police his group was sent with a specific mission to target Israelis to avenge the Palestinians. That is why they targeted Nariman House (Chabad Center), the Times of India reports. Kasab said his comrades stayed there posing as Malaysian students.
The nine Jewish victims, including 7 Israelis, represent the largest group of foreign hostages murdered by the Islamist terrorists who held Mumbai under siege from Wednesday, Nov. 29 to Saturday.
The name of Ms Yocheved Harpaz, 59, mother of four from Givitayim joined the four victims from Chabad Center so far identified: Rabbi Gavriel, 29, and Rivka, 28, Holzman, taken hostage in the Chabad Center during their assault on Mumbai Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Their 2-year old son, Moshe, was brought to safety by his Indian nanny.
Two more victims identified were Betzion Chroman, 28, father of three, who held dual US-Israeli citizenship, and Leibisch Teitelbaum, an American from Brooklyn. Forensic pathologists from Israel were flown to India Sunday by an Israeli Air Force plane to help identify the others. With them were defense experts and officials to arrange the return of the remains to Israel and their burial.
Chabad Center was seized together with two big hotels and attacks on other high-profile targets across the city.
The Indian government estimates that some 610 hostages were rescued at the ravaged Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace hotels and 174 were killed by the terrorists, most of them Indians
Indian fingers are pointing at Pakistan as investigators begin probing for the hand behind the uniquely pre-planned, orderly, commando-style assault by an estimated 30 terrorists. The singling out of foreign sites and US, British and Jewish victims is seen by many experts as a hallmark of an al Qaeda-led operation possibly in association with other groups.
Indian TV claims the gunmen traveled to Mumbai by sea from Karachi. A recurring name is that of Maulana Abdul Bari, an Indian based in Saudi Arabia who is the suspected bankroller of the assault. The Foreign Office in London denies the "British connection" highlighted by UK media, some of which say seven of the terrorists were Pakistan British citizens.
All counter-terror agencies stress the importance of long and exhaustive reconnaissance by the attackers. Some suggest "advance control rooms" may have been set up at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels for prior reconnaissance and even to cache arms and ammunition.
Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak also estimated the assault was carried out by 30 gunmen working in groups of seven who were in touch with additional elements in the city and linked to a command base, possibly of al Qaeda, in neighboring countries. The FBI has sent a team to join the Indian probe. The US and Israeli governments stress the need for more global cooperation and intelligence-sharing to help predict where the Islamist terrorists will strike next.
Atrocities from the 60-hour ordeal began coming to light Friday night, when Israeli defense minister said in a Channel 1 TV interview that some of the bodies bore signs that they had been bound hand and foot and two Israeli women had been killed hours before the men. The dramatic Indian helicopter-borne commando raid of Chabad Center, which caters to Israeli and Jewish visitors to the city, failed to save anyone in the building.
The outrage may not be over. Mumbai, India's financial capital, was shut down Saturday - schools, shops, traffic - against a second wave of terror as police armed with machine guns patrolled the streets. Friday, Islamist gunmen returned to their first target, the city's main rail station for a second attack. DEBKAfile reported earlier that some of the terrorists had remained on the loose away their first targets to continue their "mission."
In New York, Friday night, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky voiced the outrage of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and conveyed condolences to the families of everyone murdered in Mumbai. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the atrocity reminds us of how connected the world is in the face of terror.
Indian investigators are examining a satellite phone and GPS map recovered from a trawler, the Kubar, floating in the Arabian Sea. The crew was missing from the vessel except for its master whose body was found beheaded with bound limbs.
Cabinet approves release of 250 prisonersDespite protests move tantamount to abandoning Gilad Shalit, government votes in favor of prime minister's proposal Israel free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners as goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority ahead of upcoming Muslim holiday
|The government on Sunday approved the request of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to free 250 Palestinian prisoners ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
This in keeping with the promise he made to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting two weeks ago.
The proposal did not pass without the vocal objection of several ministers. "This wholesale market of prisoners just delays the release of Gilad Shalit, and damages the social fabric," said Shas Chairman and Minster of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai.
Minister Jacob Edery also slammed the move prior to the cabinet meeting, saying Israel "has made enough gestures to the Palestinians without having received anything in return. You don't have to free terrorists so long as there is no progress in the effort to free Gilad Shalit or the peace talks."
Lebanon recognizes 'state of Palestine' The Lebanese government has approved forming full diplomatic relations with what it calls the "state of Palestine," and is elevating the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Beirut to the status of an embassy.
|Published:||11.30.08, 12:23 / Israel News|
|Published:||11.30.08, 13:33 / Israel News|