On Friday, an IED Blast was reported outside Jindal House near the Israel Embassy in Delhi. According to the forensic teams, three cars were damaged, and black powder was used to carry out attacks on the Israel Embassy.
A letter in an envelope addressed to “Israel Embassy Ambassador” was found on the spot during the investigation. The letter contained a threat which says that the blast on Friday was just a ‘trailer’. As per the report, the threatening letter also contained a reference to two ‘Iranian martyrs’ – General Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Nuclear Scientist Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian commander who commanded the Quds Force of the IRGC, was killed by the US forces in January 2020 in Baghdad. In November 2020, Iranian nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh was assassinated on Tehran’s outskirts by a 62-member squad.
This is not the first time that the Israel Embassy in India has been attacked. On February 13, 2012, a sticky bomb was placed on Tal Yehoshua Koren’s car, the Israeli diplomat’s wife, in which she had received injuries. Incidentally, the Quds Force, also known as Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was then accused of carrying out attacks on the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi. Four people had suffered injuries after a bomb explosion on an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi.
The assassination attempts of Israeli diplomats had come after the killing of an Iranian scientist. Iran and blamed Israel for the assassination and had vowed to take revenge for the scientists’ killings. The attacks had also coincided with the anniversary of the killing of Iran-backed Shiite Lebanese group, Hezbollah leader, Imad Mughniyeh.
Indian journalist accused of playing a key-role in aiding Iranians to carry out attacks
Following the attacks on Israel embassy, the Delhi police had also concluded that attack was a handy work of IRGC. Upon further investigation, the Delhi police had revealed that IRGC members had discussed the plans to carry out attacks on Israeli diplomats in India with an Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi. Further, the investigations had also disclosed that Kazmi was in contact with the members of IRGC for nearly 10 years.
After a detailed investigation, the Delhi Police arrested journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi for aiding bike-borne bombers. In 2012, the special cell of Delhi had arrested Kazmi and charged him with being part of a conspiracy and booked him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. During interrogation, it was revealed that he was privy to the conspiracy to target Israeli diplomats.
Another interesting fact is Seema Mustafa, the current chief of controversial Editors’ Guild of India, had then jumped into the support of the accused Kazmi to proclaim his innocence in the Israeli Embassy bombing case.
Who is Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi?
Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, who hails from Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh, began his journalism career in 1983 with Delhi office of Iran Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iran’s national broadcaster. Kazmi, who had a command over Arabic and Persian languages, helped him translate and interpret news emanating from Gulf countries.
In the later years, Kazmi developed an interest in West Asia, particularly Iraq, Iran and Israel. After seven years of serving Iranian media, Kazmi started his own media venture ‘Media Star’, a news agency specialising in West Asia. After a brief stint, he joined Doordarshan as a news anchor in 1993 and became an Urdu newsreader on DD News.
During his days in Doordarshan, Kazmi was part of the team that produced ‘World View India’- a weekly foreign affairs show on Doordarshan. According to Saeed Naqvi, a journalist and father of Saba Naqvi, Kazmi had a ‘fantastic insight’ into the region and the reason was his impeccable contacts and network. Naqvi co-produced the weekly show with Kazmi and has travelled with him on various foreign assignments.
According to the police, Kazmi had a deep network in Iran, which worked against him during the 2012 Israeli Embassy bomb blast case. The then Delhi police commissioner B K Gupta had disclosed that Kazmi had also confessed to having helped the Iran nationals conduct a recce of Israel embassy.
“He also disclosed that at the insistence of Syed Ali Sadr Mehndi, a person of Iranian origin, he was introduced to Houshan Afshar and along with an Irani recced the area around the Israel Embassy. They used a scooty for this recce, which was procured by Houshan Afshar. During this recce they decided to target Israeli diplomats,” Gupta had said. Interestingly, Kazmi’s pro-Iran stand has not been denied even by his family.
Kazmi was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India in October 2012 but restrained from going abroad. As of today, Kazmi is still out on bail. He continues to host a show on his YouTube channel ‘Media Star World‘ where he discusses West Asia and the region’s issues.
As per his LinkedIn profile, he is also Editor of an Urdu paper ‘Qaumi Salamati’. He was made editor of the paper after he secured bail in October 2012. Then also it was rumoured that Iran had funded the paper. Senior Congress leader and the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was also present at the launch of the paper as chief guest.
Bomb blast in Israel Embassy in New Delhi
On Friday, a low-intensity explosion occurred near the Israel Embassy in the national capital. The explosion took place near the Jindal House on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in the heart of the city.
According to the Delhi Police, the explosives were reportedly not very powerful. In a statement, the Delhi Police had said that no injury has been reported during the Jindal House blast. “Initial impressions suggest mischievous attempt to create a sensation,” the Police said.
The blast is being investigated as an attempted terrorist attack, and the Israel Ambassador has been assured security to the mission and all diplomats.
A letter in an envelop addressed to “Israel Embassy Ambassador” was also found on the spot as per police sources. The letter contains a threat which says that the blast on Friday was a ‘trailer’. As per the report, the threatening letter also contained a reference to two ‘Iranian martyrs’, Qasem Soleimani and Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Following the incident, Israel released a statement saying that they considered the Friday attacks as an act of terrorism. A team of investigators from Israel is also expected to reach the national capital to assist the Indian agencies in the investigation.