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Homeland Security

Israel says 10 to 15 Israelis Held Hostage in Mumbai Attacks

By VOA News
27 November 2008

Israeli officials say gunmen in Mumbai are holding 10 to 15 Israelis hostage, some at a Jewish center and the others at the Oberoi Hotel.

Militants seized the Jewish center, known as Chabad House, late Wednesday. An orthodox Jewish group, Chabad Lubavitch, that runs the center says eight Israelis are being held captive there, including a rabbi and his wife.

A female cook employed by the group escaped from the building Thursday morning with the couple's two-year-old son. The boy is said to be unharmed, but his clothes were soaked with blood, apparently from victims inside. The cook says she saw several people lying "unconscious" in the center as she fled.

The Jewish center contains a synagogue and kosher cafeteria primarily used by Israelis and other Jewish visitors to Mumbai. Several other Israelis are being held captive at the Oberoi Hotel. Israeli officials say they fear for the lives of the hostages.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni condemned the Mumbai attacks and said Israel will help India in any way that it can.

A Chabad spokesman in New York, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, says the men who attacked the Jewish center had initially seized a police vehicle, which he says enabled them to approach the building.

A local resident, Sanjay Kokate, says the gunmen opened fire into a nearby building, killing several people.

The Chabad Lubavitch movement urged people to pray for the hostages at the Jewish center and anyone else affected by the Mumbai attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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