Two Israelis still missing after Mumbai attack
Foreign Min. believes all Jewish victims identified; Mumbai terrorist says specifically told to kill Israelis.
The Foreign Ministry said Sunday that two Israelis believed to have been in Mumbai when the terror attacks struck India's financial capital last week have still have not contacted their families.
Two other Israelis who had not been heard from since the beginning of the attacks were located alive and healthy on Sunday evening. They had apparently been traveling elsewhere in India when the terrorists attacked.
Specialists from the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute left Mumbai on Monday to execute a final sweep of the area.
Six people - most Israelis, some dual citizens but all of them Jews - were killed in an attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, one of ten targets hit by terrorists in a series of coordinated attacks across the city that left 174 dead and hundreds more wounded.
After checking hospitals and morgues in Mumbai, the Foreign Ministry officials said on Sunday that there do not appear to be any more Israeli or Jewish victims of the attacks apart from those that have already been identified as victims from the Chabad House.
The Ministerial Committee on Symbols and Ceremonies decided earlier Sunday to recognize the Israelis murdered in the Mumbai Chabad House as victims of terror attacks against an Israeli target, which will enable their families to collect National Insurance Institute (NII) benefits.
An Israel Air Force plane carrying a delegation of officials from the foreign ministry, Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police was scheduled to leave for Mumbai at 3 P.M. Sunday to help in the final stages of identifying the victims of the Chabad House attack.
However, the plane was delayed for several hours due to problems with the issue of visas.
During its meeting Sunday, the committee also determined the process by which the victims' bodies will be returned to Israel.
Once the remains are positively identified, they will be boarded on the IAF plane during a ceremony that will be attended by the Israeli delegation, along with Israel's Ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, and Israel's Consul General in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv.
Upon the IAF plane's return to Israel, there will be a short ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport, where rabbis will recite the Kaddish mourning prayer. The victims' bodies will then be transferred to their families for burial.
Mumbai terrorist: We were told to kill Israelis
The only terrorist captured by Indian authorities following the Mumbai attacks told interrogators during questioning that he and his men were sent specifically to kill Israelis to avenge "atrocities" against the Palestinians, the Times of India reported Sunday.
Amir Kasab, 21, told investigators that this was why they targeted the Chabad House, also known as the Nariman House in Mumbai, an outreach center meant for local Jews and Jews touring India, including Israelis. Sources said Kasab's colleagues killed in the operation had stayed at the Nariman House in the past.
"They have stayed in Nariman house on rental basis identifying themselves as Malaysian students.'' said a source. Police were trying to determine why Nariman House rooms were given to non-Jews, the Times of India reported.
Kasab also revealed during questioning names and addresses of at least five people from the city who provided assistance to the terrorists in carrying out the attacks.
Joint commissioner of police Rakesh Maria said told the Times of India "we suspect there could be local assistants but it is subject to verification. It will be very premature to comment on this at this stage as our investigation is going on.''
Israeli embassy representatives and rescue personnel have identified the six Israeli and Jewish victims killed in the assault that began Wednesday night across India's financial capital, including its Chabad center.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on Saturday evening to dispatch an Israel Air Force plane with teams of medical and forensic experts to Mumbai on Sunday to aid in the identification of victims.
Authorities on Saturday named one of the Israeli victims as Yocheved Orpaz, 60, after her family identified her body on Saturday afternoon. Another woman was identified as a Jewish resident of Mexico, whose name has not yet been released.
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement confirmed Friday evening that Israeli-born American rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife Rivka, 28, were among the dead.
The Holtzbergs will be flown to Israel for burial, said Rivka Holtzberg's brother, Shmulik Rosenberg. A Chabad spokesman said they likely would be buried Monday.
Two other victims from the Chabad house who have also been positively identified are Bentzion Chroman, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, and Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, a U.S. citizen who lived in Jerusalem.
The fifth victim of the attack, Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz, was due to immigrate to Israel on Monday to join her two children who are already here - Jean, 24, a student living in Tel Aviv, who has been here for four years, and Manuel, 18, who arrived two months ago to study in a yeshiva in Bnei Brak.
But before making the move, Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz decided to treat herself to a few months of touring India. Last week, that trip ended in her death at the hands of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai's Chabad House.
According to the Jewish Agency, Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz had contacted the agency in Mumbai and asked to be put on a flight to Israel on Sunday, to arrive here in time for her son's birthday. Agency chairman Zeev Bielski on Sunday offered his condolences on her death.
She also has another daughter, Orly, 21, who lives with her father in Mexico.