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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Slain Mumbai rabbi was reading terror manual

A RABBI murdered in Mumbai by Islamic militants who stormed his home was reading a manual on what to do in case of a terrorist attack, the friend who identified his body says.

A Hebrew book entitled How to Protect Yourself if Terrorists Come to Your House was found on Gavriel Holtzberg's bedside table after the siege of the Jewish prayer centre he ran, Dov Goldberg said.

"He wasn't a man interested in martial arts or fighting," Mr Goldberg, 28, said of his friend and fellow rabbi.

"If he had this book it was for one reason - he was aware of the danger," he said.

"It wasn't among the many books in his library, it was on his night table, he was reading it with his wife."

Mr Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were among six Jews killed when heavily-armed Islamist extremists stormed into the Nariman House complex in the Colaba Market area where they lived and worked.

Mr Goldberg, who had already been appointed as the next leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch orthodox prayer centre run by Mr Holtzberg, was the first to enter the building after the 48-hour seige ended.

A close friend of Mr Holtzberg - they shared accommodation while at rabbinical college in Israel - Mr Goldberg said his friend, who he refers to as "Gavy", asked him earlier this year to join him in India.

He said Mr Holtzberg's wife was five-and-a-half months pregnant and the couple had planned to return to the US for the birth of their third child.

Nariman House was one of three locations where the militants linked to Pakistan-based extremist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba took hostages during an assault that lasted a total of 60 hours.
Officials put the death toll at 172, including nine of the ten gunmen, with around 300 injured.

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