By Menachem Cohen, COLlive reporter in Israel
Several hours have passed since a series of coordinated bombs and gun attacks on Wednesday night in Mumbai (Bombay), India’s financial capital, and the local Chabad Shliach is nowhere to be found.
At least 80 people were killed and 250 injured in the attacks, which occurred in seven locations including two luxury hotels and one of the city’s main railway stations.
COLlive has learned that one of the bombs went off near the Chabad House located on 5 Hormusji Street – Nariman House in Mumbai’s Colaba area.
Atempts to reach Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg or his wife Rivka, the directors of the local Chabad, have failed.
Police said shooting was continuing and that the incidents were coordinated terrorist attacks. Gunmen had taken hostages at two hotels, they said.
“We are waiting for them to contact us,” the worried mother-in-law of the Shliach, Mrs. Yehudis Rosenberg told COLlive.com. “It’s possible that the phone system in the country crashed – which is a frequent occurence there.”
NO ISRAELIS INJURED
There has been a wave of bombings in Indian cities in recent months which have left scores of people dead. Most of the attacks have been blamed on Muslim militants, although police have also arrested suspected Hindu extremists.
Israel’s foreign Ministry notified that one of the explosions was near the local Chabad House, headed by Shliach Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg.
“As far as we know – no Israelis were injured,” a spokesman for the ministry said. “We opened a situation room and are in touch with the staff of our consulate in the city who are trying to reach all Israelis.”
Zeev Soffer, Executive Director of Israeli-based Jewish Emergency Rescue Organization, recommends that shluchim do training in emergency response.
“Today when security is threatened throughout the world, it should be the priority of community leaders to establish a system for emergency response in terror situations such as this,” he told COLlive.
“The first responders in an attack such as this must know how to properly care for the injured and dead victims.”