Terrorists attacked multiple locations in Mumbai, India, late Wednesday night, with much of the gunfire occurring near the Chabad-Lubavitch center run by Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg.
By 3:00 a.m. local time, police reports indicated at least 78 people were killed when gunmen affiliated with an unknown Islamic terrorist group entered a series of hotels, a central train station and other popular tourist sites and began firing. An initial police response was met by heavy resistance; at least three officers, including a top commander, are dead, according to IBN, the local CNN’s local sister station. Throughout the night, people reported explosions, which police attributed to grenades carried by the terrorists. More than 200 were injured.
Of particular concern to authorities is the report of two gunmen taking foreign tourists hostage at the five-star Oberoi Hotel. The Indian military was reportedly making preparations to take the hotel by force before daybreak. Another 100 tourists and three members of India’s parliament were holed up in the Taj Mahal Hotel.
One friend of Gavriel Holtzberg reported receiving an e-mail from the Mumbai rabbi at 11:30 p.m. local time. The Israeli Consulate was in touch with Holtzberg, but the line was cut in middle of the conversation. No further contact has since been established. Other reports on IBN showed the Chabad House’s building as being occupied by terrorists, but no further information could be confirmed.
Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in New York and Israel are working alongside the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai and a volunteer team of local residents to ascertain the well being of the Holtzbergs and other Jews in the area.
People are urged to say Psalms for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma, Rivka bas Yehudis and Moshe Tzvi Ben Rivkah, and anyone affected by the tragedy.