Recalling the 26/11 Mumbai attack on Chabad House

Recalling the 26/11 Mumbai attack on Chabad House

Recalling the 26/11 Mumbai attack on Chabad House

Only a few knew where the Chabad House - earlier known as the Nariman House - is located at Colaba Causeway, until Lashkar-e-Taiba's fidayeen attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, which made the place known world wide.  

The six-storey building was a Jewish outreach centre run by Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who owned the building since around 2006.

Chabad House was one of the places that were targeted by militants- the others being the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, two five star hotels - the Taj Mahal Palce & Tower, the Oberoi-Trident and Leopold Cafe.

In fact, two terrorists - Imran Babar and Nasir - held it for three days, before the National Security Guard, during Operations Black Tornado, stormed into the five-storey building and killed both of them. One commando was killed in the operations. However, the two terrorists killed seven occupants of the building.

Gavriel and Rivka's son Moshe, who was then two-years-old, was saved by his nanny, Sandra Samuel, who is now granted honorary citizenship of Israel.

The Holtzbergs arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the small local Jewish community, visiting business people and the tourists, many of them Israeli, who come to Mumbai.

Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, was born in Israel and moved to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y., with his parents, when he was nine. A prodigious student, Holtzberg was a two-time champion in a competition of memorizing the Mishnah, a compendium of rabbinical laws and enactments redacted in the second century C.E. He used to lead the Friday-night Shabbat services at the Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue. His 28-year-old wife, born Rivkah Rosenberg, was a native of Afula, Israel.


What the chargesheet says?

Babar Imran and Nasir after landing at fishermen's colony walked to Nariman House, located at a distance of approximately 500 meters.

Before entering the building, one of the terrorists planted a RDX-laden IED weighing approximately 8 to 10 kgs.

Also, on entering this building, the second terrorist planted another 8 to 10 kgs RDX-laden IED near the staircase at ground (parking) level area. Subsequently, both these RDX-laden IEDs exploded.

Both these terrorists held some residents of the building as hostage and under the fear of dire consequences, compelled one of the Jewish hostages to speak to their Embassy on the phone.

The two terrorists also repeatedly contacted their co-conspirators in Pakistan and received operational and motivational inputs.


Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg
Rivka Holtzberg (she was pregnant at that time)
Salim Hussain Harharwala
Mehzabin @ Maria Salim Harharwala
Ben Zion Chroman
Norma Shvarzblat Robinovich
Yokevet Mosho Orpaz

NSG commando, Havaldar Gajendra Singh Bisht, was killed during the operation.

Moshe Holtzberg
Sandra Samuel (his nanny)

Imran Babar alias Abu Aakasha
Resident of Multan, Punjab, Pakistan
Nasir alias Abu Umar,
Resident of Faislabad, Punjab, Pakistan


26/11 attacks
Between 26-28 November, 2008, 10 fidayeens trained by Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out multiple assaults with firearms, grenades and improvised explosive devices against multiple targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the Leopold Cafe, the Chabad House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, each of which Headley had scouted in advance, killing 166 and wounding 300 others.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox