Last Updated: Mon Feb 13, 2012 19:10 pm (KSA) 16:10 pm (GMT)

Bombs target Israeli missions in India, Georgia; Iran denies involvement

Police and forensic officials examine a damaged Israeli embassy car after an explosion in New Delhi Feb. 13, 2012. Bombers targeted staff at Israel’s embassies in India and Georgia on Monday. (Reuters
Police and forensic officials examine a damaged Israeli embassy car after an explosion in New Delhi Feb. 13, 2012. Bombers targeted staff at Israel’s embassies in India and Georgia on Monday. (Reuters

Bomb attacks targeted Israel’s embassies in India and Georgia on Monday, with two people injured, including a diplomat, in the Indian capital when an embassy car exploded in a ball of fire.

According to the Indian channel IBN Live, a car belonging to the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, a short distance from the Israeli embassy and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence, caught fire after an explosion near the mission.

Police in the Georgian capital defused an explosive device found in the car of an Israeli embassy employee, the ex-Soviet state’s interior ministry said.

Ravi Singh, a petrol pump attendant who was standing on the other side of the road from the Delhi blast, said: “There was a huge explosion. There was a woman and a driver in the car which was burning and the women was dragged out,” according to an AP report.

Israeli embassy spokesman in New Delhi David Goldfarb two injuries were reported one of which was a female diplomat. The IBN Live channel reported her to be the wife of Israeli defense attaché.

Indian police cordoned off the area surrounding the burnt-out station wagon and investigators were at the site.

“We are examining the materials at the site and we are yet to get the experts’ report so we still cannot say how the blast occurred,” New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP.

He said there were no details about the condition of the two injured people but television reports said that one was in a critical condition.

A photograph on NDTV television showed flames shooting out of the vehicle when the explosion occurred.

“There was an explosion in an Israeli diplomat’s car but we don’t know how it happened, Goldfarb said. “We are in constant contact with the local authorities.”

Iran links

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Iran was behind the attacks.

“Iran is behind these attacks. It is the biggest exporter of terror in the world,” Netanyahu told members of his rightwing Likud party.

But Iran denied the accusations it was behind the attacks , al-Alam television said, quoting the foreign ministry spokesman.

“We categorically reject the accusations made by the Zionist regime. They are part of a propaganda war,” Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language channel. “Iran condemns all acts of terrorism,” he added.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP in Jerusalem that Israeli authorities were investigating the blast in New Delhi as well as the incident Tbilisi.

“We are looking into both of these incidents and cooperating with the local law enforcement agencies,” Palmor told AFP.

The attacks took place a day after the fourth death anniversary of slain Hezbollah deputy leader Imad Mughniyah.

According to Haaretz newspaper, last year, Israeli embassies throughout the world received several suspected threats which coincided with the third anniversary of Mughniyah’s death.

Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus on Feb.12, 2008, while Abbas Mussawi, the group’s secretary general, was killed by an Israeli missile on Feb. 16, 1992.

Both attacks were blamed on Israel and sparked vows of revenge from the Shiite militia group.

A Jewish center run by the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch movement was among the targets in the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which India blames on the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, in which 10 gunmen killed at least 188 people.

The last militant strike in New Delhi was last September when a bomb outside the High Court killed 14 people - the latest in a series of blasts that has shaken public confidence in the Indian government’s counter-terror capabilities.

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