Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg
Gavriel and Rivka HoltzbergIsrael news photo: file

The sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed a Chabad rabbi and his wife was executed Wednesday, nearly four years after 166 people were killed in a three-day rampage through India's financial capital, officials announced.

Pakistan-born Mohammed Kasab was hanged early Wednesday after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his pleas for mercy earlier this month.

"His execution is a fitting tribute to the victims of Mumbai attacks,” Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil told reporters, AFP reported.

On November 26, 2008, ten Islamist gunmen launched attacks on the city, targeting luxury hotels, the Chabad House, a hospital and a bustling train station. They killed Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and four others at the Chabad center. Gavriel and Rivka's son Moshe escaped with the help of his local nanny, who later moved to Israel to help care for him at his grandparents’ home.

Kasab was one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to the city in the attacks that lasted nearly three days.

He was sentenced to death in May 2010 after he was found guilty of a string of charges, including waging war against India, murder and terrorist acts.

India blames the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant organization for training, equipping and financing the gunmen with support from "elements" in the Pakistani military.

Pakistan has admitted that the attacks were planned partly on its soil, but denies any official involvement.  

Kasab initially pleaded not guilty but later confessed, admitting he was one of the gunmen sent by the LeT.