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Diplomats link Israel Embassy blast to 2012 Delhi terror attack; Probe underway

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The low-intensity IED blast that occurred near the Embassy of Israel in the VIP area of Delhi, on Friday evening, is believed to be a terror attack according to the Ambassador of Israel to India, Ron Malka.

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Talking to media, the Ambassador said that investigation has been launched into the matter and evidences collected from the blast site are sent for forensic examination. Reasserting it to be a terror attack, he said that there is full cooperation between Indian and Israeli authorities.

On Friday evening, the high-security area of Israel Embassy on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road witnessed a minor blast that shattered the windscreens of three cars parked on the road. Though no one was injured in the explosion, but it is looked upon as a terrorist attempt which took place on the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.

The Ambassador of Israel, Malka further said that there’s a possibility that this blast could be linked to 2012 attack on Israeli diplomats in Delhi. He said that the timing of January 29 attack corresponded with 29th anniversary of the full establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and India. He added that both may be a mere coincident but it’s one of the several options on the table and are being thoroughly investigated.

He also informed that the External Affair Minister S Jaishankar has spoke to his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi soon after the incident and assured him of “fullest protection” to Israel’s mission and its diplomats in India. Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla has also talked to Israeli Foreign Secretary Alon Ushpitz about this matter and has offered full support, protection and assistance to the Israel.

Meanwhile, External Minister Jaishankar said India was taking the incident “very seriously”.

“Spoke just now to Israeli FM Gabi Ashkenazi about the explosion outside the Israeli Embassy. We take this very seriously. Assured him of the fullest protection for the Embassy and Israeli diplomats,” the Minister posted on Twitter. “Matter is under investigation and no effort will be spared to find the culprits,” he said.

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On his part, Ashkenazi tweeted: “The Indian FM assured me that the Indian authorities are committed to the security of all Israeli diplomatic staff and will continue to act resolutely to locate all those involved in the explosion. I thanked him and promised full cooperation and any help required from Israel.”

Earlier on February 13, 2012, four people including Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua and an Indian driver of an Embassy vehicle were injured after a magnetic bomb stuck to the vehicle went off in the capital. An Iranian hand was alleged in that incident.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s bomb was reportedly planted in a flower pot on the road divider.

“Forensic experts have found broken pieces of a cold drink can and ball bearings from the spot. Prime facie it appears that explosives and ball bearings were stuffed in the can. It was planted in such a manner that the impact was felt towards the road. The ball bearings hit the cars. Police have not found any device or battery at the spot,” a source said.

The low-intensity improvised device went off outside 5 Abdul Kalam Road near Jindal House at 5.05 pm when President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the three Service Chiefs were a few kilometres away on Rajpath, attending the Beating Retreat ceremony concluding Republic Day celebrations.

“No injury to any person is there, nor was any damage to property witnessed except window panes of three vehicles parked nearby. Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation,” an official said.

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As per Indian security establishment officers the bomb was made with “locally available” low intensity explosives, whose exact nature would, however, be determined only after forensic examination. “Given the importance of the day (29 years of India-Israel relations) it appears the idea was more to send a message than to cause any real damage. However, it is a properly made IED. It appears to be the handiwork of some self-styled terror group or a lone wolf,” a senior security establishment officer was quoted saying.

In view of this terror attack, heavy security has been deployed and police patrolling has been increased in sensitive and crowded public places in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, and other places.

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