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Bombings Target Israelis in Both India and Georgia

Common Dreams staff

An Israeli embassy car burns following the explosion in Delhi. (Photograph: Ndtv/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of Israel's foreign service were targeted in separate incidents on Monday. A car bomb exploded in New Delhi, India injuring a diplomat and two other people. Nearly simultaneously, according to reports, a car bomb was discovered in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.  That bomb was defused by security personnel.

UPDATE: (1:45 PM EST) Israel "confirms" Iranian involvement; Iran denies accusations, denounces terrorism

Indian authorities were working with Israelis to determine who might be behind the attacks in Delhi. The Hindustan Times reported:

Asked if there was specific information about the involvement of Iran in the Delhi attack, David Goldfarb, the spokesperson of Israeli's Delhi embassy, said: “We are not commenting on intelligence inputs. But we confirm this is the handiwork of Iran and Hezbollah.” Iran's embassy in Delhi denied the charge.

Israel’s accusation of Iran is the first such instance of a terror attack in India being blamed on Iran, confounding security agencies who have so far seen terrorist incidents in the past few years as emanating either Pakistan or home-grown groups.

The Associated Press reports:

Iran's ambassador to India has rejected claims by Israel that Tehran was behind the attacks against Israeli diplomats in India.

Iran's official news agency IRNA quotes Mahdi Nabizadeh as saying Monday that Iran condemns any "terrorist" acts.

Nabizadeh calls Israeli accusations of Iranian links to the attack "lies."

Al-Jazeera reports:

The van in New Delhi, which was parked down the street from the Israeli embassy in a high security area of the capital, was shown in flames on Indian television on Monday.

Three people were injured when the car exploded, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told the AFP news agency, adding there were no details about their condition.

David Goldfarb, Israeli embassy spokesman, said that one of the occupants in the car was an Israeli diplomat, but declined to identify him.

A photograph on NDTV showed the Toyota station wagon engulfed in flames in the middle of the road. Later television footage showed the vehicle burnt out and the area cordoned off by police. [...]

Shota Uitashvili, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the car in Tbilisi was in a car park about 200 metres from the embassy, where the driver had parked it in the morning after coming from his home.


Israel Quick to Accuse Iran

From the Associated Press:

Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of lawmakers from his Likud Party on Monday that he believed the Iranians were responsible for the attacks in New Delhi and Tbilisi. [...]

Netanyahu said Israel has thwarted other attacks in recent months in Azerbaijan, Thailand and elsewhere.

"In all those cases, the elements behind these attacks were Iran and its protege Hezbollah," he said.

Iran has accused Israel of involvement in a series of killings of officials and scientists involved in its controversial nuclear program.

And Harriet Sherwood, writing for The Guardian, adds:

The foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was reported as saying that Israel would identify those responsible for the blasts and would not tolerate attacks on targets inside or outside Israel.

The incidents came the day after the anniversary of the death of Imad Mughniyah, a senior Hezbollah figure who was killed when his car exploded in 2008. Hezbollah accused Israel of being responsible for the blast.

Israeli officials have also warned of the threat to embassies and other targets from Iran or its allies.


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