The Indian security agencies have been probing the recent improvised explosive device (IED) blast executed near the Israel Embassy in New Delhi on January 29 (Friday) evening. According to reports, though the investigations into the incident still remain in-conclusive, prima facie evidence points the needle of suspicion towards the involvement of Iran in the blast.
Counter-terrorism officials in New Delhi have been quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that there is enough to suggest the involvement of Tehran in the blast.
India has taken the heinous attack very seriously and has, in strong words, opined that it cannot be used by any other country to target its perceived enemies. “Once we have concrete evidence we will take up the matter in very serious terms with the country behind the attack,” said a second official in know of the entire investigation who too asked not to be named.
For those unaware, India has close ties with both Israel and Iran, although the two countries, in turn, are enemies.
Delhi Police eyeing students returned from Iran, questioning few Iranians living in Delhi
Meanwhile, the counter-terror officials said that the ongoing probe is focussing on students who have returned after studying at Qom, a Shia Islam city in Iran. Without specifying names, the officials added that the agencies are also focusing on a particular city in south India and a Shia dominated city in Afghanistan. Delhi Police Special Cell has also been questioning few Iranians living in Delhi in connection with the blast. The foreign nationals being questioned include those whose visas have expired.
According to the evidence made public so far, at 3.27 pm, hours before the blast at the Israeli embassy in the National capital on January 29, a Telegram (messaging app) user, VikarUdDeen@Vikar45 had claimed responsibility for the blast near the Israeli Embassy on behalf of an unknown group called “Jaish ul Hind.” The message posted by Vikar was forwarded and posted in several other ISIS-linked Telegram groups such as Jaag Muslman Jaag, Muslim Groups and Azaadi ki Awaaz Channel of which Vikar is also a member.
After the IED exploded around 5.11 pm, the investigators recovered a letter addressed to Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka. The letter was addressed to Israel Ambassador with ‘trailer’ written on it. 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.
Moreover, the preliminary forensic examination of the site and the bomb have revealed that the explosive used was PETN, a military-grade explosive which is not easily available. The PETN has been used in the past by groups such as Al Qaeda for making bombs.
A senior official told media that deliberate efforts have been made to firewall the real perpetrators behind the terror incident with false flags “and deniability built into the attack that was carried out at the behest of Iran.”
Iran had attacked Israeli diplomats in 2012
It is pertinent to note here, that 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.
Quds Force was commanded by Qasem Soleimani whose name has appeared on the letter found outside the blast site on Janaury 29.
Incidentally, the assassination attempts of the Israeli diplomat in 2012 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.
Following the 2012 attacks on Israel embassy, Delhi police had arrested an Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi. According to the police, Kazmi had a deep network in Iran. 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.