Israel re-affirms Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terrorist organisation

Jerusalem, Nov 21 (PTI) Israel on Tuesday re-affirmed its declaration of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as a terror organisation’ ahead of the 15th year anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 persons, including six Jews, were killed.

“Yes, I can confirm it. It’s not a new thing and it is actually from 2013. It was recently re-published because of a bureaucratic error but it is not a new thing,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson, Lior Haiat, told PTI.

Haiat’s statement came after a press release by the Embassy of Israel in India earlier in the day said: “To symbolise the marking of the 15th year of commemoration of the Mumbai terror attacks, the state of Israel has listed Lashkar-e-Taiba as a Terror Organisation’.”

The re-affirmation comes weeks after Israel said that the time had come for India to declare Hamas a terror organisation. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip since 2007, used land, sea and air routes to launch an attack on Israel territories that killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians on October 7. It prompted Jerusalem to declare war on the Islamic outfit, killing more than 11,000 people.

In almost a similar manner, on November 26, 2008, ten Pakistani terrorists entered the south Mumbai areas through a sea route and attacked a number of places, including Chabad House, a Jewish centre. The indiscriminate attack killed 166 people, including six Jews and 18 security personnel.

Six Jews were killed at Nariman House, more popularly known as the Chabad House, considered by many Israelis as a “shared pain.”

The terror siege continued for three days during which more than 300 were wounded even as the coordinated shooting and bombing attacks at 12 sites also damaged properties, including the heritage building of the sea-facing Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

“Despite not being requested by the Government of India to do so, the state of Israel has formally completed all necessary procedures and has satisfied all required checks and regulations to the result of introducing Lashkar-e-Taiba into the Israeli list of illegal terror organisations”, the Israeli embassy statement said.

“While Israel only lists terror organizations who are actively operating against it from within or around its borders, or in a similar manner to India – those globally recognized by UNSC or the US State Department; the Israeli ministries of Defence and Foreign affairs, have jointly worked in the last few months towards an expedited and extraordinary listing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba organisation on this date, to highlight the importance of a Unified Global Front in combating terrorism,” the release stressed.

“Lashkar-e-Taiba is a deadly and reprehensible terror organisation, responsible for the murder of hundreds of Indian civilians as well as others. Its heinous actions on November 26, 2008, still reverberate in force, through all peace-seeking nations and societies,” it further said offering “sincere condolences to all victims of terrorism and to the survivors and bereaved families of the Mumbai attacks, including those in Israel.”

“We stand with you united in the hope for a better peaceful future,” the statement said. Seen by many as a “shared pain,” the 26/11 terror attack continues to stir outrage in Israel every year with commemorative events condemning the senseless killings and demands for justice against the masterminds of the terror attack heard across the country.

In 2021, the Jewish outreach movement, Chabad, unveiled a plaque in the southern coastal city of Eilat in memory of the six Jewish victims of the Mumbai terror attacks at Chabad House.

“To the memory and rise of souls of Rabbi Gavriel Noah and Rivka Holtsberg, who were martyred during the time of their holy mission in a terror attack at Chabad house in Mumbai, India, from which the message of Torah was being spread all over the area. And for the four guests who stayed in Chabad house at the time of the attack, and were also martyred: Rabbi Gavriel Taitelbaum, Mrs. Norma Rabinovich, Rabbi Ben Zion Kurman, Mrs. Yocheved Orpaz. May their souls be bound up in the bond of eternal life,” the plaque in Hebrew reads.

Israeli leaders and officials have repeatedly called for the perpetrators of the horrendous crime to be “brought to justice.”

Outraged at Hamas leader Khaled Meshal’s virtual participation at a pro-Palestine rally in Kerala last month, Israel’s Ambassador to Israel, Naor Gilon, had called for adding Hamas to India’s list of terror organisations.

“Unbelievable! #HamasTerrorist Khaled Mashal speaks from Qatar in a #Kerala event under the slogan Uproot bulldozer Hindutva & Apartheid Zionism’,” Gilon wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“Mashal calls participants to: 1. Take the streets and show anger. 2. Prepare for jihad (on Israel). 3. Support Hamas financially. 4. Promote Palestinian narrative on social media,” he said adding, “It’s time to add #HamasISIS also to #India’s terror list.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned Hamas’s brutal attack on Israel on October 7.

“Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour,” Modi tweeted following the attacks.