India probes Israeli diplomatic car bombing

New Delhi calls bombing a “terrorist attack” but declines to attribute blame, as Israel accuses Iran and Hezbollah.


India’s home minister says the country will track down the perpetrators of a bomb attack on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi, but refused to be drawn into a war of words between Israel and Iran over the incident.

P Chidambaram, the country’s home minister, said on Tuesday that the bomb blast a day earlier that badly wounded an Israeli diplomat and three other people appeared to have been a terrorist attack.

“The explosion, according to eyewitnesses, happened within seconds of the device being planted,” Chidambaram told reporters in Delhi. “It is quite clear that a very well-trained person carried out this attack.”

“One has to progress on the basis that it was a terrorist attack,” he said, adding “We are not pointing our finger at any group or organisation.”

The attack in the Indian capital coincided with the attempted bombing of an Israeli embassy vehicle in the Georgian capital Tbilisi that was thwarted by the police.

Georgia also said it would investigate the attempted bombing attack.

‘Suspicious incidents’

“The investigation of this case is of the utmost priority for Georgia’s law enforcement agencies,” said a spokeswoman for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Israel on Monday accused Iran and its ally Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Shia movement, of being behind the two incidents on its diplomatic vehicles.

“Iran is behind these attacks. It is the biggest exporter of terror in the world,” Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, told members of his right-wing Likud party in Jerusalem.

He said there had been a number of attempts to harm Israelis and Jews in recent months, in places such as Thailand and Azerbaijan, in a series of attacks co-ordinated by Tehran and Hezbollah.

But an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said Israel had carried out the attacks as part of a campaign of psychological warfare against Iran.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has condemned the attacks and called on authorities to investigate [AFP]

“It seems that these suspicious incidents are designed by the Zionist regime and carried out with the aim of harming Iran’s reputation,” the official news agency IRNA quoted Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, condemned the attack and attempted bombing and called on authorities there to investigate the incidents.

“The Secretary-General recalls his condemnation of attacks against diplomatic personnel and premises wherever they take place,” he said in a statement.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the incidents in “strongest possible terms” but the White House reserved judgment on who was responsible.

Bystanders dragged the 42-year-old Israeli diplomat and her Indian driver from their burning car after a motorcyclist attached an explosive device to her car as it slowed for a junction in central Delhi.

“She has sustained multiple shrapnel injuries. Because of the explosion, sharp metal objects were found in her liver, lungs and spinal cord,” Arun Bhanot, a doctor at the Primus Hospital in Delhi, told reporters.

The diplomat, named as Tal Yehoshua Koren, is also the wife of Israel’s defence attache in Delhi, and was on her way to collect her children from school, officials said.

“Investigations will proceed until we find the perpetrator of this attack,” Chidambaram said. “CCTV camera images are being scanned but so far there is no clear image of the motorcycle rider or the number plate.”

Shota Uitashvili, spokesman for the Georgian interior ministry, said the car in Tbilisi was in a car park about 200 metres from the embassy, where the driver had parked it in the morning after coming from his home.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies