Israel Accuses Arch-enemies Iran and Its Lebanese Ally Hezbollah of Twin Bombings in India and Georgia
February 13, 2012
Has Iran decided to turn Israeli tactics against Israel?
In a strike virtually identical to attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists, U.S. sources say a passing motorcyclist attached what appeared to be a shaped charge to an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi, India. The driver and the wife of Israel's deputy defense ministry representative to India were wounded.
Television footage showed flames pouring from a minivan with its back door blown out. The attack took place at 4 p.m. on Race Track Road, close to the Israeli Embassy.
A single source confirms that a failed attack against an Israeli car in Tblisi, Georgia used a similar method, but the bomb did not detonate. A worker at the embassy alerted local police after seeing a black plastic bag attached to the bottom of the Israeli envoy's car. The bag held a hand grenade.
No attackers have been identified in either incident. An unconfirmed report says that a third Israeli facility in Amsterdam may also have been targeted.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly pointed the finger at Iran for the twin attacks in Georgia and India. Both attacks come one day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of a top Hezbollah leader.
Motorcyclists with "sticky bombs" have been blamed in several mysterious bombings of Iranian nuclear scientists. The Iranian government has blamed Israel, the U.S. and the U.K. for the deaths. Both The U.S. and the U.K. have denied any involvement. In January, Mostafa Roshan became the fifth scientist or official involved in the program killed in the past two years. Iran had threatened to strike back for the deaths.
In New York, police have stepped up security at the Israeli consulate, at residences and on consulate vehicles.
"The NYPD adjusts its counterterrorism posture to include information about events overseas," said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. "That's why the public may have noticed increased NYPD presence in recent weeks at Israeli government facilities and synagogues, although there has been no specific threat in New York."Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she condemned the bombing and the attempted bombing "in the strongest possible terms. ... The scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community."
February 13, 2012
Israel accused arch-enemies Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind twin bomb attacks that targeted embassy staff in India and Georgia on Monday, wounding four people.
Tehran denied involvement in the strike, which has amplified tensions between two countries at loggerheads over Iran's contested nuclear program. Hezbollah, the powerful Shi'ite Muslim movement in neighboring Lebanon, declined comment.
Police in the Indian capital New Delhi said a bomb wrecked a car carrying the wife of the Israeli Defence attache as she was going to pick up her children from school. She needed surgery to remove shrapnel but her life was not in danger, officials said.
Three others suffered lesser injuries in the same blast. Israeli officials said an attempt to bomb an embassy car in the Georgian capital Tbilisi had failed and the device was defused.
Israel had put its foreign missions on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the February 12, 2008 assassination in Syria of the military mastermind of Hezbollah, Imad Moughniyeh -- an attack blamed on the Jewish state.
Israel is also believed to be locked in a wider covert war with Iran, whose nuclear program has been beset by sabotage, including the unclaimed killings of several Iranian nuclear scientists, most recently in January.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to blame both Iran and Hezbollah, accusing them of responsibility for a string of recent attempted attacks in countries as far apart as Thailand and Azerbaijan.
"Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are behind each of these attacks," said Netanyahu. "We will continue to take strong and systematic, yet patient, action against the international terrorism that originates in Iran."
Iran's ambassador to India denied that his government had anything to do with the attack on the New Delhi embassy.
"Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official," Mehdi Nabizadeh was quoted as saying by IRNA. "These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times."
Israeli officials have long made veiled threats to retaliate in Lebanon for any Hezbollah attack on their interests abroad, arguing that as the militia sits in the government in Beirut, its actions reflect national policy.
The New Delhi blast took place some 500 meters from the official residence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
B.K. Gupta, the New Delhi police commissioner, said an eyewitness had seen a motorcyclist stick a device to the back of the car, which had diplomatic plates.
"The eyewitness ... says it (was) some kind of magnetic device. As soon as the motorcycle moved away a good distance from the car, the car blew up and it caught fire," said Gupta.
The Iranian scientist killed in Tehran last month died in a similar such attack. No one has claimed responsibility for this.
Israel named the injured woman as Talya Yehoshua Koren.
"She was able to drag herself from the car and is now at the American hospital (in New Delhi), where two Israeli doctors are treating her," said a Defence ministry spokesman.
Thailand said last month its police had arrested a Lebanese man linked to Hezbollah and he later led them to a warehouse stocked with bomb-making materials. Also last month, authorities in Azerbaijan arrested two people suspected of plotting to attack Israel's ambassador and a local rabbi.
In a January 24 speech, Israel's military chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, accused Hezbollah of trying to carry out proxy attacks while avoiding direct confrontation. Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive and costly war in 2006.
"During this period of time, when our enemies in the north avoid carrying out attacks, fearing a harsh response, we are witnesses to the ongoing attempts by Hezbollah and other hostile entities to execute vicious terror attacks at locations far away from the state of Israel," Gantz said.
"I suggest that no one test our resolve."