Israel blames Iran for mission attacks
NEW DELHI / JERUSALEM
Police and forensic officials examine a damaged Israeli Embassy car after an explosion in New Delhi. Bombers also target staff at the Israeli Embassy in Tbilisi. REUTERS photoAssailants targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in near-simultaneous strikes yesterday, wounding two people in a car bombing in New Delhi, officials said.
Israel said an attempted car bombing in Georgia was thwarted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly accused Iran and Hezbollah.
“Iran is behind these attacks and it is the largest terror exporter in the world,” the prime minister told a gathering of lawmakers from his Likud Party. There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks.
Netanyahu also said Israel had thwarted similar attacks in recent months in Azerbaijan and Thailand.
“In all those cases, the elements behind these attacks were Iran and its protégé Hezbollah,” the Associated Press quoted him as saying, and he vowed to “act with a strong hand against international terror.” There was no immediate comment from Iran or Hezbollah.
The explosion in India tore through a diplomat’s car, Israeli officials said. Indian officials said the driver and a diplomat’s wife were injured. The explosion took place in the late afternoon close to the embassy, said embassy spokesman David Goldfarb. Indian police said they were hunting for the assailant on motorbike, Agence France-Presse reported.
Authorities in Georgia said an explosive device was planted on the car of a driver of the Israeli Embassy. Shota Utiashvili, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the driver noticed a package attached to the undercarriage of his car yesterday and called the police. Police found a grenade in the package and defused it, Utiashvili said.
Head of Israel’s domestic security service Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, said Feb. 2 Iran was trying to strike Israeli targets around the world in a bid to stop the assassinations of its nuclear scientists. “It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not that Israel took out the nuclear scientists,” Cohen said. “A major, serious country like Iran cannot let this go on. They want to deter Israel and extract a price so that decision makers in Israel think twice before they order an attack on an Iranian scientist,” the daily Haaretz quoted him as saying.
Last month, a director of Iran’s main uranium enrichment site was killed in a blast from a magnetic bomb placed on his car. The official, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was at least the fifth member of Iran’s scientific community killed in apparently targeted attacks in the past two years. “Over the past year, three serious attacks were thwarted that had been on the verge of being carried out,” the Shin Bet head said. “In Turkey, against the consul general in Istanbul; in Baku, Azerbaijan; and two weeks ago in Thailand.”