Four Israelis rescued from Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel

Foreign Ministry official tells 'Post' no Israelis found in hospitals following chain of Mumbai attacks.

Freed hostages Mumbai 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Freed hostages Mumbai 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Four Israelis are among the group of hostages that were rescued by Indian special forces from the Oberoi Trident Hotel on Friday, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official in Mumbai told the Jerusalem Post. "There are no more Israeli hostages at the Oberoi hotel," Haim Hoshen, the Foreign Ministry's Head of Asia and South Asia Department, said, speaking by phone from the Israeli Consulate in Mumbai. "Two of the freed hostages arrived at the consulate, and were put on a flight to Israel half an hour ago. The other two have been transferred to another hotel," he said early Friday afternoon. Earlier, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that she had spoken spoke to Israeli Ambassador to India Mark Sofer, who informed her that after the four Israelis were found in the Oberoi hotel, 17 Israelis were still unaccounted for in Mumbai. She said the Foreign Ministry would continue to exert efforts in order to track down the missing Israelis. Hoshen said the number of missing Israelis was compiled from a list sent to the Consulate from Jerusalem, which was based on reports by worried parents and family members of loved ones in Mumbai who have not made contact since the terror attacks began. He estimated that two to four Israelis remained inside the Chabad House, which was raided by Indian commando forces in a rooftop helicopter operation. But the Consulate did not know the precise number of Israelis trapped in the Chabad House, Hoshen stressed. "The situation at the Chabad House is very difficult. The commando operation began yesterday, and there have been a series of tactical stops since," Hoshen said. He added that Indian forces had introduced more powerful arms in recent hours. The IDF attache to India, who arrived in Mumbai from New Delhi, is liaising between the Indian military and the Israeli Consulate, keeping Israeli diplomatic staff updated on the latest developments, Hoshen said. "We have gone to hospitals to check for Israelis, and thank God, we haven't found anything at this stage," he added. Hoshen was staying at the Oberoi Hotel when the building came under attack, and described hearing a number of explosions go off around him as he attended a reception. He evacuated the area leaving all of his belongings in the hotel. The staff of the Israeli consulate in Mumbai has been working "24 hours a day" since the crisis began, Hoshen said. "We managed to catch a couple of hours of sleep last night," he said.