Israel Accuses Iran of Bombings in India, Georgia

Monday, 13 Feb 2012 09:08 AM

 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of being behind a pair of car bombings against Israeli diplomatic targets in India and Georgia.

The attacks were near-simultaneous strikes on Monday, one of which wounded two people in a car bombing in New Delhi, officials said. Israel's Foreign Ministry said an attempted car bombing in Georgia was thwarted when the device was discovered before it went off.

Netanyahu told a meeting of lawmakers from his Likud Party on Monday that he believes Iranians are responsible for the attacks in New Delhi and Tbilisi. Two people were wounded in India and the bomb in Georgia was discovered before it went off.

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.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But suspicion fell on Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, which both have deep grievances against the Jewish state.

Hezbollah recently marked the anniversary of the 2008 assassination of one of its commanders, Imad Mughniyeh, in a bombing widely believed to have been carried out by Israel. And Iran suspects Israeli involvement in a series of killings of officials and scientists involved in its controversial nuclear program.

The explosion in India tore through a diplomat's car, Israeli officials said. The Foreign Ministry did not identify the wounded, but Indian officials said the driver and a diplomat's wife were injured.

The explosion took place in the late afternoon close to the embassy, said embassy spokesman David Goldfarb. Television footage showed a charred minivan with blue diplomatic plates, its rear door apparently blown out.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor would not discuss who was injured nor the extent of the injuries because it was a security matter.

"We are looking into the incident and cooperation with local security forces is excellent," Palmor said from Israel.

Authorities in the former Soviet republic of Georgia said an explosive device was planted on the car of a driver for the Israeli Embassy.

Shota Utiashvili, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the driver noticed a package attached to his car's undercarriage on Monday and called police.

Police found a grenade in the package and it was defused, Utiashvili said. He did not specify where the car was parked when the device was discovered.

There was no immediate comment from Iran. But speculation will undoubtedly be raised over the possibility of Iranian-linked payback for assassinations on nuclear scientists and other covert plots that Tehran has blamed on Israel's spy agency Mossad and Western allies.

Last month, a director of Iran's main uranium enrichment site was killed in a blast from a magnetic bomb placed on his car. The official, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was at least the fifth member of Iran's scientific community killed in apparent targeted attacks in the past two years.

Iran accused Israel of being behind the attacks. Later, Iran's official news agency IRNA said it had "evidence" of alleged U.S. and British involvement in the Roshan killing.

In a signal that Iran could strike back for Roshan's killing, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the spokesman for Iran's Joint Armed Forces Staff, was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency last month as saying that Tehran was "reviewing the punishment" of "behind-the-scene elements" involved in the assassination.

"Iran's response will be a tormenting one for supporters of state terrorism," he said, without elaborating. "The enemies of the Iranian nation, especially the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime, or Israel, have to be held responsible for their activities."

Iran also has blamed the United States and allies for a sophisticated computer virus, known as Stuxnet, that was programmed to disrupt the centrifuges used in uranium enrichment. Iran said the virus was detected in its systems, but claimed no serious setbacks occurred.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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