Nine people are now known to have died at Chabad House after Muslim terrorists attacked the building in Mumbai several days ago. Haaretz identified several of the known dead as follows:
Authorities on Saturday named one of the Israeli victims as Yocheved Orpaz, 60…Another woman was identified as a Jewish resident of Mexico, whose name has not yet been released.
…Chabad-Lubavitch…confirmed…that an Israeli-born American rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife Rivka, 28, were among the dead.
…Two other victim…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 Israeli newspaper reveals that Israeli counterrorism experts–while acknowledging that Indian authorities faced an almost impossible task in taking back their city from the terrorists who attacked it–harshly criticized the Indian response, which was abysmally slow, especially regarding the Chabad House invasion. When terrorists attack the only hope for the hostages lies in a quick, overpowering assault. The Indian authorities had to wait many hours for crack units to arrive from Dehli before they even began to contemplate a counter-attack. By then, most or all of the Chabad House hostages were long dead.
Why did it take 24 hours to subdue two terrorists in Chabad House? Why was there no security provided for a major Jewish facility in a city prone to Muslim terror attacks? The question should be asked of Chabad as well.
The Indian media has reacted harshly to the Israeli criticism feeling that the Israelis should understand the great suffering experienced by all the families of the Indian victims. But the truth of the matter is that while Israelis have had their share of counter-terrorism failures, criticism in this instance is more than warranted.
How do you allow possibly as few as ten terrorists to roam freely in your city for days without being detected? Why does it take three entire days to subdue so few gunmen? How do you allow multiple boats filled with armed men to land right under your nose at the city’s docks and walk right into town to perpetrate their mayhem? Is there no one home in the Indian counter-terror security establishment?
It isn’t as if India hasn’t had experience with this problem before. Why have they not learned from previous experience and mistakes? The N.Y. Times article linked above reveals that India’s response was a comedy of errors. It is hard to imagine that a modern nation like India, having had the experience it has had with terrorism, was so woefully unprepared. This is failure of the state and political leadership not to forsee and prepare for this eventuality. If I were the Congress Party I’d prepare for a drubbing in the next elections. The problem is that the political opposition is an even sorrier lot filled with Hindu extremists who, if anything, will exacerbate the very tensions that may’ve led the Muslim terrorists to attack in the first place.