India: ‘Well-Trained Terrorist’ Carried Out Israeli Diplomatic Attack

Posted February 14th, 2012 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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India's home minister says Monday's bombing of an Israeli embassy car was carried out by a well-trained terrorist.

The attack wounded an Israeli diplomat's wife and was carried out in one of New Delhi's most secure districts.

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Tuesday that the bomb went off within seconds of being planted on the woman's car by an assailant on a motorcycle.

He said Indian and Israeli authorities were working together in the investigation and that it is too early to assign blame.

“At the moment I am not pointing a finger at any particular group or any particular organization. But whoever did it, we condemn it in the strongest terms.”

Israel has accused Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah of carrying out the attack along with a near-simultaneous bombing that targeted an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in Georgia. Tehran quickly denied the accusation.

India has strong historical ties to Iran and depends heavily on it for imported fuel. New Delhi has resisted calls from Western nations to impose sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program.

Monday's bombing in the Indian capital wounded four people. The wife of an Israeli defense official was said to be in stable condition on Tuesday following surgery to remove shrapnel from her spine.

In the incident in Georgia, an Israeli embassy employee in the capital, Tbilisi, spotted a suspicious device on his car and alerted police, who safely defused the bomb.

Israeli police said Tuesday they have increased the state of all alert all over Israel, with emphasis on security in public places, foreign embassies, offices and the international airport.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Iran and its ally Hezbollah of being behind the bombs and a recent series of foiled attacks on Israeli targets in Thailand, Azerbaijan and other nations. He called Iran the largest global sponsor of terrorism, and he vowed a “strong” Israeli response.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast rejected Israel's accusations as part of a “psychological war” against Iran.

U.S. officials condemned the attacks on Israeli diplomatic vehicles, and said Washington does not know who was responsible but is ready to help the investigations.

There was no claim of responsibility for Monday's attacks, which appeared to involve magnetic bombs similar to those used in the assassinations of several Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years, most recently in January. Iran has blamed those attacks on Israel and the United States.

The New Delhi and Tbilisi incidents amplified tensions between Israel and Iran, two nations engaged in a long-running dispute about the Iranian nuclear program. Israel says Iranian leaders are trying to develop nuclear weapons to pursue their stated goal of wiping the Jewish state off the map. Tehran says its nuclear activities are meant for generating electricity and medical research.

Israel and its main ally, the United States, have refused to rule out military action to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly warned Israel and the West that it will retaliate for any attack.

Israel had put its foreign missions on high alert ahead of the February 12 anniversary of a 2008 car bombing that killed Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh in the Syrian capital, Damascus. The Lebanese Islamist group blamed that assassination on Israel and vowed revenge.