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Israel: Updates on the Chabad Home Hostage Operation in Mumbai

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, India, Israel, Breaking News, Disaster, International Relations, Religion

As the commando operation at the Chabad Jewish Center of Mumbai unfolded, very little was known about the state of the hostages. Chabad [1] is one of the largest Hasidic movements in Orthodox Judaism. It runs thousands of centers around the world, providing Jewish community centers, synagogues and schools – providing educational activities for Jews worldwide. They are very popular among Israeli backpackers, who frequent the centers while on their post-military travels.

The Chabad website [2] is currently blocked due to their implementation of the Saturday Guard [3] software which prohibits users from accessing the site during Sabbath. However, a constant stream of updates is located on a sister site [4]. The most current update states that the five Jewish hostages held inside the building were found dead:

update 06:22 – a commando unit penetrated adjacent to the Chabad home. One terrorist killed.
update 07:01 – Chabad home still under seige.
update 07:17 – CNN reports that a mother and child were released from the Chabad home as they were weeping. It is unclear if this is the Rabbi Holtzberg's family.
update 07:43 – security forces report that at least five terrorists are inside the Chabad home.
update 08:05 – Chabad spokesperson, rabbi Menahem Brod: the emissary and her son escaped from Habad home
update 08:19 – The woman who escaped from Chabad home is a nanny who escaped with the son of the emissaries. They are still captured.
update 08:24 – Chabad Hassids are asked to pray for the wellbeing of the emissaries at the wailing wall in Jerusalem
update 08:34 – witnesses claim that the kidnappers released the emissary's son and his nanny. They are still held inside the building.
update 08:36 – Israeli radio: the nanny who was released from Chabad home reports that the emissary and his wife were unconscious.
update 08:55 – Israeli radio: the emissary's son who was released, was taken to the police station with the nanny. His parent's status is still unclear.
update 09:03 – the emissary's mother on ynet: “I heard they are alive”
update 09:23 – Indian security forces: it is possible that the terrorists ammunition has been exhausted.
update 11:23 – a series of explosions are heard minutes ago from Chabad home. It is estimated that the security forces are breaking into the building.
update 12:03 – a massive prayer session is being organized in the Wailing Wall at 15:00 in the afternoon, for the wellbeing of the hostages.
update 13:51 – the educational Chabad youth center calls for immediate prayers across Israel.
update 14:31 – kidnappers ask to open negotiations over the release of the hostages in Chabad home.
update 17:31 – Israeli foreign ministry: there is great concern for the lives of those held in Chabad home.
update 19:44 – press sources unofficially report that some of the hostages from the Chabad home were released.
update 20:11 – Israeli foreign minister: “there is no basis to the claims that Israelis were release from Chabad home. We have little information which is troubling”
update 21:41 – the nanny who escaped with the emissary's son in a special interview: “he is constantly asking for his mom and dad”
update 23:00 – CNN-IBN: large explosion heard from Chabad home in Mumbai.
update 23:51 – the Israeli foreign ministry states that despite the multiple reports, no hostages were released from the Chabad home in Mumbai. The office is checking with the Mumbai police forces the report on a large explosion heard from the building. Earlier reports claimed that eight people were seen walking out of Chabad home, however a diplomatic source stated they left from an adjacent building.
update 01:35 – rabbi Nachman Holzberg and his wife left their home in Crown Heights enroute to Israel. The family: we keep receiving contradicting information.
update 02:44 – CNN: third explosion heard tonight from Chabad home when a hand grenade was thrown from the building onto the Indian security forces surrounding the structure from the outside.
update 02:46 – an Israeli delegation is making its way to help with the recue of the hostages in the Chabad home.
update 03:47 – Indian security forces opened fire at Chabad home. It is unclear if they will break into the building.
update 03:50 – political correspondant: four dead in Chabad home; Livni: the situation looks grim.
update 04:20 – heavy gunfire in the Chabad home.
update 05:05 – a white flag is raised from a window on the fourth floor of the Chabad building.
update 06:46 – NDTV reporter located at the front of the Chabad home: the rescue operation is taking longer than expected because the rabbi and his wife are held alive.
update 07:12 – rabbi Grossman to Israeli TV channel 2: the emissary's parents arrived in Mumbai and took custody of their grandson who is celebrating his 2nd birthday today.
update 08:05 – police officer to Sky News: there are five or six live hostages inside Chabad home.
update 08:41 – heavy fighting in the Chabad home. Commando forces break into the building from the air.
update 08:52 – report from Mumbai: 3 explosions heard in the vicinity of the Chabad home
update 09:25 – high ranked officer estimates: the operation will end within several hours.
update 10:25 – Israeli security officer: commando forces are on their way to the floor where the emissaries are held.
update 10:51 – the British Sky network: explosions and gunfire heard in the vicinity of the Chabad home in Mumbai.
update 10:52 – CNN India reports that the fourth and fifth floors in the Chabad building were evacuated.
update 11:33 – commando force took control over most of the building floors. Echos of bomb explosions are constantly heard.
update 12:10 – Israeli radio: Indian media claims the Chabad emissaries are held alive, hence the commando forces are extremely careful.
update 14:01 – rabbi says to volunteers: you are allowed to work on this Sabbath, which begins in India within 15 minutes.
update 14:44 – great explosion in the Chabad home ruined part of the structure. Police: three terrorists are still inside.
update 14:55 – cheerful calls next to Chabad home. CNN: the commando forces overpowered the terrorists. The emissary and his wife's status is still unknown.
update 15:48 – five Jews found dead in Chabad home.