Israel accuses Iran over co-ordinated bomb attacks on its diplomatsby WORLD NEWS, telegraph.co.uk
February 14th 2012
Benjamin Netanyahu launched a ferocious condemnation of Iran after the attempted bombings - 2,000 miles apart, but apparently co-ordinated - left the wife of an Israeli diplomat in a serious condition and raised concerns over a new wave of attacks against the country's envoys.
The method used yesterday appeared to mirror that used to kill an Iranian nuclear scientist last month - an act for which Iran blamed Israel.
In both cases, a magnetic bomb was apparently attached to the side of a diplomatic car by a motorbike rider, fuelling claims that the bombings were a tit-for-tat strike by the Iranian regime against its sworn adversary.
"Iran is behind these attacks; it is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world," Mr Netanyahu told members of the Likud Party. "Iran and its proxy Hezbollah were behind all of these attempted attacks. Today we have witnessed two additional attempted terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, the first against an Israeli woman who was wounded in New Delhi and the second against a local employee of the Israeli Embassy in Georgia."
The attacks came just days after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, warned that Tehran was prepared to use all its "tools" against Western interests, including the "cancerous tumour" of Israel, and will only serve to further escalate tensions between the two countries.
"From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this," he had said.
An Iranian diplomat last night rejected responsibility for the attack however.
"Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official," said Mehdi Nabizadeh, Iran's ambassador to New Dehli said."These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times."
Indian police last night said they were looking for a motorcyclist who was seen throwing a device at the diplomatic car, which was travelling just a few hundred meters from the prime minister's residence as the diplomat's wife was heading to the American Embassy School to pick up her children,
An eyewitness told a local television channel he had the car being followed by a young man on a motorbike, who leaned out and attached "a device" as the vehicle approached a crossing.
The car drove a short distance, there was a loud sound and then an explosion and the car caught fire. The woman - Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of a Defense Ministry official based in New Delhi, suffered moderate shrapnel wounds and was being treated at a local hospital by Israeli doctors. Her driver, Manoj Sharma 42, and two people in a nearby car had minor injuries.
The other attempted bombing in the Georgian capital Tblisi, was foiled however.
Israeli officials confirmed the bomb had been found in the car belonging to one of the embassy drivers based in Tblisi, but that it had been safely defused before it could detonate.
Shota Utiashvili, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the driver noticed a package attached to his car's undercarriage and called police.
A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said that the attacks were one of a number of incidents involved Iran or its allies in recent weeks. Earlier this year the Thai government arrested and deported members of Hizbollah, the Lebanese terror group, for plotting attack on Jewish targets in Bangkok.
Authorities in Azeribaijan uncovered a plot to assassinate the Israeli ambassador just days after the Iranian press alleged that Israel was using Iran's Caspian neighbour as a base to stage attacks on its nuclear programme.
The New Dehli attack bore the hallmarks of attacks within Iran that has killed five leading figures working at the highest level of its nuclear development programme.
Israel is widely reported to be at the forefront of a campaign, also involving the US and other western powers, to disrupt Iran's nuclear ambitions through targeting key scientists, defections and cyber warfare.
Last month, a director of Iran's main uranium enrichment site was killed in a blast from a magnetic bomb placed on his car. The official, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was at least the fifth member of Iran's scientific community killed in apparent targeted attacks in the past two years.
However the foreign ministry spokesman said the impression that Iran and Israel were engaged in a two-party confrontation was misleading. "It you look at what is being said publicly there is a great of concern from a large number of countries but if you look at what is being attributed to Israel in terms of direct action, I'm not sure we are capable of doing all of it," he said.
Mark Sloman, the director of India programmes at The Israel Project, said that the historical and trade ties between India and Iran ran deep. Experts in New Dehli said Iran would put a lot of its interests in danger by backing an attack its capital. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has resisted US and EU pressure to curtail trade with Iran over its nuclear activities.
B Raman, a former senior Indian intelligence office, said it was unlikely Iran was behind the attack because it would not want to risk its close and long-standing relationship with India, but it was not impossible. "It seems unlikely because it would not be in their interests to carry out an attack on Indian soil. But their intelligence often acts as a rogue elephant. I would not rule out the possibility that they [Iran's intelligence service] did it without the sanction of its political leadership," he said.
Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, Israel's military chief, warned that Iranian backed groups were shifting from direct action on Israel's frontier to proxy attacks. "During this period of time, when our enemies in the north avoid carrying out attacks, fearing a harsh response, we are witnesses to the ongoing attempts by Hizbollah and other hostile entities to execute vicious terror attacks at locations far away from the state of Israel."
Iran's Islamic regime has long targeted Israel's overseas operations. A bomb attack at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires killed 29 people in 1982. Two years later, a bombing at a Jewish community centre in the same city killed 85 people.
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