New Delhi: Ten years passed but the scars of horrific 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks still haunt Moshe Holtzberg (an Israeli boy who survived the carnage), said Sandra Samuel, the nanny who saved his life. “Moshe is afraid of darkness. He doesn’t say anything. But in the night he wants all lights on. He can’t sleep even in a dim light,”Samuel said.
Notably, two Pakistani terrorists had laid siege on five-storeyed Jewish centre in Colaba, now renamed as Nariman Light House, killing nine, including Rabbi Gavriel and his pregnant wife Rivka. Their son Moshe, who is in seventh grade now was saved by Samuel. Earlier this year, she visited Mumbai with Moshe, his grandparents and Israel’s prime minister.
The 54-year-old nanny also wondered why the terror attack ‘scars’ are still there in Nariman Light House. “They have kept the fourth and fifth floor same and on the third floor they have broken every thing and made (it) into one big open space. The pillar and every thing has bullet marks. It is very terrible for me. It broke me, it shook me,” Samuel told PTI over phone from Israel.
“Why it should be there for people to see the bullet marks? I don’t understand this logic,” she said and cited the example of terror attacks at Taj Mahal hotel, Trident hotel, Leopold Cafe and CSTM station. “Have they all kept the marks like that only,” she said.
Recalling the “horrific ordeal” in the building 10 years ago, she said, “It was a miracle that we came out alive from there. I believe God has his own plans for everybody.”
Samuel, who was granted honorary Israeli citizenship in 2010, says she does miss Mumbai and makes it a point to visit her sons Martin (35) and Jackson (28), every two years. She works for disabled children at the Aleh Jerusalem Center since the last seven years. Every Saturday, she meets Moshe in Afula where he stays with Rabbi Shimon Rosengberg, his maternal grandfather.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists targeted major landmarks of Mumbai with first attack taking place at the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station.
Ajmal Amir Kasab and Ismail Khan carried out the attack at this station, killing as many as 58 people and injuring over 100. Kasab and Khan later entered to attack Cama Hospital, but the same was thwarted with the alertness of the hospital staff. They however killed 6 police officials, including city’s Anti-Terrorism Squad Hemant Karkare in an ambush after leaving the hospital.
The second site of the attack was Nariman House business and residential complex where a Rabbi, his wife, and six others, including five Israeli citizens, were killed by the terrorists who first held them as hostage. The two-year-old child of the Rabbi couple, Moshe, survived in the attack.
The third site to come under attack on 26/11 was the Leopold Cafe followed by Taj Mahal Hotel and Tower. The other site to come under attack during the 26/11 was Oberoi-Trident hotel where another group of two terrorists entered at almost the same time, as other four had entered Taj. At Oberoi-Trident hotel the siege officially ended on the evening of November 28 with as many as 30 being killed in the horrific attack.
The attack and seize finally culminated on the morning of 29th November 2008, after the National Security Guards (NSG) secured the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
(With inputs from agencies)