Saturday 24 February 2018

Israel blames Iran for twin bomb attacks on diplomats

Damien McElroy and Dean Nelson in New Delhi

Israel's prime minister yesterday accused Iran of masterminding two bomb attacks on its diplomats in India and Georgia in an apparent act of retaliation for the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist.

Benjamin Netanyahu launched a ferocious condemnation of Iran after the incidents, 2,000 miles apart but apparently co-ordinated. They left the wife of an Israeli diplomat in a critical condition and raised concerns over a new wave of attacks against the country's envoys.

The method used 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 Iran 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 Hizbollah 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, said that Tehran was prepared to use all its "tools" against Western interests, including the "cancerous tumour" of Israel. However, an Iranian diplomat last night rejected responsibility for the attack.

"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 Delhi.

Indian police last night said they were looking for a motorcyclist who was seen throwing a device at the diplomatic car, just a few hundred yards from the prime minister's residence, as the diplomat's wife headed to the American Embassy School to pick up her children.

Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of a defence ministry official based in New Delhi, suffered shrapnel wounds and was being treated at a local hospital by Israeli doctors. Her driver and two people in a nearby car received minor injuries. The other attempted bombing in the Georgian capital, Tblisi, was foiled.

Israeli officials confirmed that a 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. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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