For a second excruciating night, the Brooklyn family of a Crown Heights rabbi and his wife held hostage in Mumbai waited to learn their fate. Photos showed little Moshe Holtzberg, the couple's 2-year-old son, being carried to freedom from a besieged Jewish community center in India's financial capital. The child, his Indian nanny and a third person were led out of the Chabad House early Thursday. Moshe's pants were soaked in blood, but he was unharmed.
"It was terrible," said the Holtzbergs' nanny, 44-year-old Sandra Samuel. "There were explosions everywhere, gunfire - they tried to shoot me." She said she last saw the rabbi, his wife and two others "unconscious," lying on the floor. Since Moshe's rescue, there has been no news of his parents, who were born in Israel and raised in Brooklyn.
"In the evening, his mother always puts him to sleep, and now he doesn't understand what's going on," said Samuel.In Brooklyn, the news left the rabbi's mother stunned. "I don't know what is going on inside the building," said a shaking Freida Holtzberg, surrounded by family at her Crown Heights home."All the lines of communication have been cut off," she said. "I haven't heard his voice since last week. I don't know if my son is alive. I don't know anything."
Rabbi Holtzberg has both Israeli and American citizenship. CNN reported Israel was sending its own security team to help resolve the crisis. A purported call from inside the center from a female hostage said the Islamic madmen were demanding their imprisoned counterparts be sprung from jail. A man identifying himself as a spokesman for the terrorists made the same demands on local television.
"Ask the government to talk to us, and we will release the hostages," he said, according to Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news service."Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir?" he asked, referring to a disputed region on the Pakistani border where Muslims and Hindus have clashed for decades. "Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims? Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?"
Meanwhile, friends and relatives of Holtzberg waited. "We are speaking to people on the ground and then telling the family," said family friend Dovid Zaklikowski, who was getting updates from businessmen friends in Mumbai who had ties to the Chabad House. "We don't want the family to have false hopes," added Zaklikowski. "We want them to have accurate information."