MDA, ZAKA dispatch teams to Mumbai

Barak, Livni call Indian officials to express support; foreign minister to hold emergency meeting.

mumbai terror 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
mumbai terror 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Magen David Adom dispatched a team of paramedics, medics and other professionals to Mumbai Thursday to assist with rescue efforts in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. The delegation will help to treat casualties and locate missing persons in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, the Joint and the International Red Cross. The team will also assist in making arrangements for any Israeli casualties to be flown home. In addition, MDA put together a team of reservists, which will be on stand-by in case additional rescuers are needed. MDA Director-General Eli Bin instructed the delegation to stay in constant contact with Red Cross representatives and to provide as much medical and other assistance as possible. Also, an international response team of two ZAKA paramedics and a further six ZAKA volunteers headed to Mumbai. The parents of Rivki Holtzberg, the Israeli-born wife of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was being held hostage is the Chabad House in Mumbai, were also on the flight with the ZAKA response team. "After consultation with the Foreign Ministry's situation room this morning, it became apparent that ZAKA must immediately send a delegation from its international response team to deal with the unfolding situation in Mumbai. The team is carrying all the advanced medical equipment necessary to deal with any eventuality, including the need for medical air transport," said ZAKA chairman and founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. Earlier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had both offered Israel's assistance to India in dealing with terror attacks and their aftermath. Barak spoke with Indian National Security adviser Mayankote Kelath Narayanan and expressed his support for the Indian people in the wake of the brutal attacks. The defense minister stressed that the attacks were part of the wave of global terror that Israel was very familiar with and that free world countries that pursue peace must fight against. He expressed his concern over the fate of the Israelis caught up in the attacks and thanked the Indian government for its efforts. Narayanan briefed Barak on the developments and the defense minister offered Israel's help in an advisory capacity and in any other way it could be of assistance, be it humanitarian or professional. Livni condemned the attacks in a conversation with her counterpart, Kumar Mukherjee Pranab. "Israel, India and the rest of the free world are on the front in the struggle against extremist terrorism, and unfortunately, yesterday, we received more proof of this. Dealing with terrorism needs to be a cooperative effort and obligates us to improve our cooperation in this area," she said. Livni asked Pranab for help in getting real-time information on the developments in Mumbai, and for his government's assistance in evacuating Israelis from the areas where the attacks took place. Livni was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in the ministry later Thursday afternoon to discuss the latest developments. Earlier in the day, Livni spoke with the Israeli consul general in Mumbai, who briefed her on the attacks, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. According to the statement, the ministry and the consulate were making "maximum efforts to ascertain the situation of the Israelis in the city as quickly as possible." Livni sharply condemned the attacks, saying, "This is further painful evidence that the terrorist threat is the greatest challenge which Israel and the international community have to face. Nothing justifies the unforgivable slaughter of innocents." President Shimon Peres also condemned the deadly Mumbai attacks, during a speech alongside Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to hundreds of Israeli and Italian businessmen. "The terror attacks in India are a clear warning sign to all countries in the world that terror poses a danger to all our children's welfare," he said. "We must take the war on global terror seriously and act decisively and firmly against terror centers spread across the globe, headed by the center of terror in Iran." "Iran openly supports terror, killing and murder, and its sick doctrine crosses all boundaries," continued the president. "The world must unite against terror, and today, we got a painful reminder of the distress terror can cause throughout the world."