ITWASSOOTED: Mumbai is Diamond War With Israeli Hostages

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai is Diamond War With Israeli Hostages

Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai Target Popular Diamantaire Hotels

(November 26, '08, 14:21 Edahn Golan)

A series of explosions rocked Mumbai Wednesday night, claiming the lives of more than 100 people. The Indian press is reporting that in the Colaba area, the Taj hotel, the Oberoi, Cafe Leopold and other tourist attractions attacks were carried out with automatic weapons and grenades.

CNN-IBN reports an ongoing gun battle at the Oberoi where gunmen have reportedly taken hostages that continued into mid-day Thursday.

The Taj and Oberoi hotels are popular destination for diamond buyers and traders. The top floor of the Oberoi was on fire, according to The Times of India. Explosions were reported in the area.

A Delegation from The Diamond Trading Company (DTC), including Managing Director Varda Shine, and accompanied by a number of brokers, were staying at the two hotels. Some of them were out of the hotels when the attacks started, while others managed to escape. DTC spokeswoman Louise Prior said they were shaken by the events, but OK.

At least two brokers locked in a room in the Oberoi Hotel were freed only in the late afternoon hours on Thursday.

A group of attackers stormed the Chabad house in the Colaba, taking 10-15 Israelis as hostages. Among them are Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg and his wife. Their two year old son was allowed t be taken out of the house by a cook. At publication time, the four kidnapers are asking to negotiate.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal railway station was another target, where two people fired from AK-47 assault rifles, claiming the lives of at least three people. The Cama Hospital was targeted as well.

The attacks were carried out at about the same time, and according to authorities were a coordinated effort. Authorities suspect the attackers, identified as members of a militant Muslim group, arrived by ship from Pakistan.

The attackers deliberately targeted foreigners. At the Oberoi, where guests were rounded up, an attacker sought out American and British visitors, according to survivors.

According to reports, a number of foreigners were killed, yet details were unclear at publication time.

De Beers Media Relations Manager Lynette Gould said De Beers and the DTC have had a special connection to Mumbai for decades, and our thoughts are with our good friends throughout the city, and to all of the victims of this tragedy.

GJEPC Chairman Vasant Mehta strongly condemned the “cowardly acts of terrorism.” “Saluting the brave officers helping us overcome this crisis,” he said, “the industry thoughts are with victims, and hopes that their families find the strength to overcome their monumental loss.”

AWDC President Jacky Roth and CEO Freddy J. Hanard expressed shock and sadness regarding the Mumbai attacks. In a joint statement, the two said, “It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the loss and suffering inflicted upon the people of India and other communities. Our hearts and thoughts go to the families of the victims and all innocent people targeted by this unacceptable act of violence.

(Last updated November 27 15:18 am)

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