Report links Indian bombing suspect to Iranian terror cell
National Security Advisor Amidror in Delhi to discuss attack on embassy.
A journalist arrested in connection with the terror attack on the Israeli Embassy in India last month had been in contact with the Iranian terror cell that was caught in Bangkok the day after the incident, an Indian newspaper reported on the weekend.
Tal Yehoshua Koren, the wife of a Defense Ministry official, suffered shrapnel injuries in the attack at a traffic light near the Israeli Embassy in central Delhi on February 13.
The Tribune reported on Saturday that Syed Mohammed Kazmi, an Indian citizen of Iranian descent, was arrested last week after it emerged that he had held telephone conversations with one of the Iranian terrorists. Moreover, his phone number was scribbled on a piece of paper found in the apartment used by the Iranian terror cell.
Two weeks ago, Haaretz revealed that Indian security forces had made significant progress in the investigation, pointing at direct Iranian involvement in planning and executing the attack, but that local officials were refraining from reporting about the breakthrough in order to prevent tension with Teheran. The newly revealed details published in India affirm the Haaretz publication.
Meanwhile, Israel's National Security Advisor, Yaakov Amidror, is scheduled to meet Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday to discuss progress in the investigation into the attack. Amidror is also expected to meet other top Indian government officials, including his Indian counterpart, Shiv Shankar Menon, Doordarshan Television reported.
The arrested journalist, freelancer Syed Mohammed Kazmi wrote regularly for Iranian news agency IRNA and frequently traveled to the Middle East. A post-graduate in Persian from Delhi University, Kazmi had also worked as a freelance journalist at Doordarshan.
At a press briefing in New Delhi on Saturday, Kazmi's son claimed his father was innocent. "It is completely a false statement that my father has given shelter to the blast suspects. No Iranian related to this case has visited our house," Shauzab Kazmi said.
Several prominent journalists and rights activists also addressed the press briefing, expressing their support for Kazmi. They said he should be released on bail while investigations continued. Kazmi was interrogated intensively in the past few days by Indian security forces, who suspect he provided logistic support to the two members of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who carried out the attack, and assisted them in their escape back to Iran. One of Kazmi's friends told The Tribune that Mossad agents participated in the investigation.
Apart from Kazmi, two more men were arrested in connection with the attack, but the Indian police assume that the perpetrators themselves have long since left India. The police believe that Kazmi wasn't aware of the details concerning the attack.
Still, India on Sunday reports that he told investigators that the attack was planned last year. Kazmi's role was to observe the Israeli Embassy and write down the diplomatic license numbers of embassy cars. According to the reports, Kazmi said the Iranians arrived in New Delhi 15 days before the attack, staying in a local motel where they prepared the explosives.
India on Sunday reported that a motorcycle found in a shed in Kazmi's house was assumed to be the one used by the two Iranians for surveillance of the embassy.
"One of the terrorists left the motorcycle at Kazmi's house before escaping to Iran on February 14th," a police source told the newspaper.
Indian officials reported that they had evidence that linked the attack in New Delhi and the failed attacks in Bangkok and Tbilisi. A senior security official told another newspaper, the Deccan Chronicle that the purpose of the attacks was to prove to Israel that its diplomatic staff was also vulnerable, following the attacks on Iranian scientists.