News / Asia

India: 'Well-Trained Terrorist' Behind Israeli Diplomatic Attack

Police next to an Israeli diplomat's car that was damaged in an explosion in New Delhi, India, February 14, 2012.
Police next to an Israeli diplomat's car that was damaged in an explosion in New Delhi, India, February 14, 2012.

India's home minister says Monday's bombing of an Israeli embassy car was targeted at an Israeli diplomat's wife and carried out by a well-trained terrorist.

Palaniappan Chidambaram said Tuesday the bomb went off within seconds of being planted on the woman's car by an assailant on a motorcycle.  Doctors described her condition as "critical but stable" and that she is recovering from shrapnel wounds and a spinal injury.

The attack occurred in one of New Delhi's most secure districts, only a few blocks from the prime minister's residence.

New Delhi police are in the process of studying forensic evidence and closed circuit television footage from the vicinity of the explosion.  Israeli authorities are cooperating in the investigation.

Israel is openly blaming Iran for the attack.  Tehran denies any involvement and accused Israel of attacking its own embassies as part of a "psychological war" against Iran.

Home Minister Chidambaram was careful not to assign blame, saying it is too early in the investigation.

"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," said Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, Israeli police increased the state of alert across Israel, with emphasis on security in public places, foreign embassies, offices and the international airport.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran and its ally Hezbollah of being behind the bombs in New Delhi as well as the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and recent foiled attacks on Israeli targets in Thailand, Azerbaijan and elsewhere.  He called Iran the largest global sponsor of terrorism, and vowed a "strong" Israeli response.

There was no claim of responsibility for Monday's attacks.  

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.

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.

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.

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