India: 'Well-trained Person' Behind Terror Attack at Israeli Embassy

Indian home minister says police won't stop working until they find perpetrators of attack which wounded wife of Israel's defense attache in India; several Israeli embassies abroad to work in limited capacity in fear of more attacks.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Tuesday that the attack against an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi was carried out by a "very well-trained person."

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Chidambaram said that investigators would not stop working until they find those responsible for the attack, in which the wife of Israel's defense attache in India was moderately wounded.

Police and forensic officials examine a damaged Israeli embassy car after an explosion in New Delhi, February 13, 2012. Credit: Reuters

While Chidambaram called the bombing a "terror attack," he did not name Iran or any other country or group as the responsible party.

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He said that the police are continuing to investigate the incident and find additional details about the motorcyclist who attacked a bomb to the car of Tali Yehoshua-Koren.

He said that Yehoshua-Koren, who was moderately wounded in the attack, is now in a stable condition.

In addition to the attack in New Delhi, a bomb attached to a car belonging to the Israeli embassy in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi was discovered on Monday.

Meanwhile, Israel's embassy in New Delhi, the consulate in Mumbai, the embassy in Tbilisi, as well as several other embassies around the world will open in a limited capacity, the Foreign Ministry decided on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly accused Iran of responsibility for the attacks, which occurred one day after the fourth anniversary of the killing of a senior Hezbollah official, Imad Mughniyeh. Both Hezbollah and Iran have long blamed Israel for Mughniyeh's assassination, and Hezbollah has repeatedly vowed revenge. But Tehran, predictably, denied any involvement in Monday's attacks, with the Iranian ambassador to India terming Netanyahu's accusation "nothing but lies."

A senior Foreign Ministry official said Monday that intelligence information and evidence collected at the scene suggest that Iran was behind the attacks. He said that this information indicated direct involvement by official Iranian entities in the attacks.

"Iran is behind these attacks; it is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world," Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud Knesset faction on Monday, after noting that "Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah" were behind several previous "attempts to attack Israeli citizens and Jews in several countries" in recent months.

While Iran and Hezbollah have been trying to take revenge for Mughniyeh's assassination ever since it occurred on February 12, 2008, Yehoshua Koren is the first casualty in a long line of failed attacks. The previous attacks, which according to foreign news sources, have been thwarted by close cooperation between Israeli intelligence and local security services, included attempts to bomb the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan, to assassinate an Israeli consul in Turkey, and, most recently, to bomb popular tourist sites frequented by Israelis in Thailand.

Monday's targets - two embassy cars, neither of which was on embassy grounds at the time - were both at relatively low-level targets, located at the outer perimeter of the security envelope Israel provides its overseas embassies and consulates. This may indicate that Hezbollah and Iran are having trouble reaching more "prestigious" targets.

Moreover, while both attacks attest to careful observation and planning and precise execution, the results were meager enough that neither Tehran nor Beirut is likely to be rejoicing.

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