Report: Mossad Chief Visited New Delhi Days Before Attack on Israeli Officials

Times of India claims Tamir Pardo told local officials Israelis felt safer in India than in Turkey or South America, did not provide specific warning of New Delhi attack.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo visited New Delhi just days before an attack on Israeli officials in the Indian capital this week, Indian media reported on Thursday, highlighting the extent to which Israeli intelligence was in the dark regarding possibility of a terror attack taking place in the country.

On Monday, the wife of an Israeli diplomat was moderately wounded when a car bomb exploded outside of Israel's embassy in New Delhi.

Investigators at the scene of the car bomb attack on the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on February 13, 2012.Credit: AP

The attack was one of three targeting Israeli officials abroad this week, with failed attempts to strike at diplomats reported the same day in Tbilisi and on the following day in Bangkok.

Neither attack was preceded by a specific intelligence warning.

Citing Indian officials, a report in the Times of India on Thursday placed Pardo's visit a week ago, saying he met with the heads of local intelligence. The report even quoted the Mossad chief as saying that Israeli citizens felt safer in India than in Turkey, the Caucusus or South America.

Pardo reportedly led a delegation of top Mossad officials, who discussed the possibility of Iranian counter attacks against Israeli targets. However, according to the report, the possibility of an attack taking place in New Delhi was not discussed.

The Times of India report also indicated that Israel's deputy envoy to India, Yahel Vilan, and the embassy's security officer, Shahar Gal Nero, sent a letter on February 1 to the New Delhi police warning of the possibility of attacks targeting Israeli citizens ahead of the anniversary of Mughniyah's assassination, and following attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists.

However, the letter did not detail any specific intelligence regarding the possibility of an attack taking place on Indian soil.

Indian intelligence officials were quoted as saying they feared increased use of magnetic bombs such as that used in the New Delhi attack.

One source indicated to the newspaper that an Indian intelligence agency had intercepted a phone call mentioning that Pakistani terrorists could make use of such explosive devices.

A report of the phone call was passed on to all Indian security agencies shortly prior to the attack on Monday, which represented the first time such bombs were known to have been used in India.

Kuwaiti report: Iran attempts to assassinate Barak intercepted during Singapore visit

Also on Thursday, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida reported that Singapore security forces had intercepted a joint Iranian-Hezbollah attempt to assassinate Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak during a recent visit to the country.

Senior Israeli defense officials told Haaretz on Thursday that the report had no basis in reality.

The al-Jarida article, which was attributed to the newspaper itself without giving the name of any specific writer, claims to cite senior Israeli sources as saying that the assassination was prevented after Mossad informed Singapore of the plot.

According to the report, the terror squad received abundant and precise intelligence concerning the timetable of Barak's visit to the country last week, and planned to track his movements and eventually assassinate him at his hotel.

Upon learning of the plan, Mossad informed Singapore's security agencies, who then arrested three of the squad's members. They were jointly interrogated by local authorities and Mossad officials who arrived to attempt to extract information concerning other squads that might be operating in Asia and planning to target Israelis.

Al-Jarida was founded in 2007, and has since published several exclusive reports based on Israeli sources, in what is seen in the Arab world as a way for Israel to deliver messages to Lebanon and Syria.

One of the paper's reports, probably backed by sources in the Prime Minister's Office, eventually led to the removal of Uzi Arad as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's National Security Advisor.

Lebanese pundits have argued in the past that the newspaper, considered to be independent, was financially backed by Israel and serves to deliver Israeli propaganda.

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