[Video below.] Details of negotiations and phone conversations between the Mumbai terrorists at Nariman House and the Israeli Embassy in Washington were revealed at the Mumbai special court today. The court heard audio of telephone conversations between the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008 and Israeli officials. So was Israel negotiating or buying time?
The court heard clear evidence that Israeli officials had tried to negotiate for the release of several hostages inside the Chabad House during the 11/26 attacks.
So almost a year after the November 26, 2008, terrorist attack in Mumbai it was officially established that that the Israeli Embassy officials in Washington DC had initiated negotiations with the terrorists at Nariman House.
In an audio clip of the telephonic conversation played before the special court at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, two things were clear. Firstly the Embassy wanted to ensure the safety of captive Jews and secondly the officials were trying to buy time, perhaps to strategise their next move.
Israeli officials contacted the terrorists by the number of one of the Jewish hostages in Hariman House.
The conversation was as follows:
Negotiator: If they are not harmed we can discuss. The Indian ambassador is in contact with the government in Delhi. Give us two hours.
Terrorist: Two hours is too much.
Negotiator: How are they?
Terrorist: They are okay. We have not even slapped anyone yet.
Negotiator: Only condition is you don’t kill people. We will call with an update. Does your cell phone have enough battery?
Terrorist: There is no electricity. We can’t charge our phones.
Negotiator: Hold. I’ll call the ambassador. I can only negotiate if no one is hurt. We’ll get back in 10-15 minutes.
The handlers had also dictated a list of close to seven demands that the terrorists were to make while talking to the media.
“Handlers in Pakistan disclosed news to be circulated to the media. Certain hostages at Nariman House had also spoke to the handlers who told them to pursue government to release them,” said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
The next set of conversation was not very clear as to who the handler was talking to. The hostage or the terrorists?
Handler: Don’t tell them how many hostages are there. We will give you a chance to live. Don’t give them a hint about number of people inside.
Hostage: Just tell them to end the operation.
Handler: We are negotiating with Israel.
Hostage: When will you leave me.
Handler: As soon as our demands are met. May be tonight… may be in two hours.
Hostage: We are asking them to stop shooting and lets talk.
Handler: We must negotiate. Don’t try to be over smart.
Clearly, the negotiations must have reached a dead end since all six Jewish hostages were killed including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivka, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum and Rabbi Bentzion Kroman.
To listen to the exchange with the terrorists, click below:
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