Ha'aretz : India declines Israeli offer of aid delegation to Mumbai

Friday, November 28, 2008

India declines Israeli offer of aid delegation to Mumbai

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent | November 28, 2008

Israel sent a number of intelligence officers to India Thursday to assist in analyzing the major terrorist attack on Mumbai.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday offered India security, intelligence and humanitarian aid in dealing with the situation.

It appears the Indian government is not interested in high profile security assistance from Israel. Throughout the day, the Homefront Command prepared to send an aid delegation to India, but efforts were halted when it became clear that Mumbai was not enthusiastic about the prospect.

The Israeli defense establishment Thursday avoided stating explicitly if the attack on Chabad House in Mumbai was planned or coincidental. One scenario raised was that the terrorists arrived there randomly while fleeing after an exchange of gunfire with Mumbai police. It is also possible that Chabad was targeted as part of an attack in which hotels were "marked" as points for the abduction and murder of Western tourists, centrally American and British citizens.

Security sources Thursday night said the picture emerging is still unclear and contradictory. Israel is still waiting for the results of the Indian security forces' investigation. If it becomes evident that the attack on Chabad House was planned, it is possible it will be necessary to fortify the security of Jewish institutions worldwide, currently rather relaxed in many countries.

Israeli experts believe the hostage-takers' behavior in Chabad House indicates they were not prepared to hole up and conduct negotiations. Communication with the terrorists is being conducted with a cell phone taken from a hostage. Apparently they also don't have video cameras or broadcast equipment with them.