India said to blame Iran’s Quds Force for blast outside Israeli embassy

Indian counter-terror investigators reportedly believe the IRGC tasked a local cell with planting the remote-control detonated device in January in New Delhi

By TOI STAFF8 March 2021, 8:25 am  0

National Security Guard soldiers inspect the site of a blast near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India, Jan. 30, 2021 (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

National Security Guard soldiers inspect the site of a blast near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India, Jan. 30, 2021 (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

India has concluded that Iran was behind a blast outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi in January, with the device planted by a local Shiite cell, an Indian news organization reported Monday.

The Hindustan Times said investigators concluded the attack was carried out by the Quds Force branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tasked with carrying out overseas operations, and that the device was detonated by remote control.

According to the report, there was an attempt to mislead investigators into blaming the Islamic State terror organization for the bomb, but counter-terrorism agencies were clear that it was an Iranian attack.

“That the bomb was not of high intensity, with no human targets in mind was perhaps because the Iranians did not want to run afoul of a friendly nation like India. But the message was clear and the threat is real,” an unnamed expert told the outlet.

Police cordon off an area near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on January 29, 2021. (Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)

A letter found close to the scene of the blast was a death threat to the ambassador that warned he was being constantly being watched and vowed to avenge the deaths of “martyrs” Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander who was killed in a January 2020 United States drone strike; Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi militia commander who was killed along with Soleimani; and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s nuclear program, killed in a November 2020 attack Tehran has blamed on Israel.

The handwritten note, in English, but riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, was addressed to Israel’s ambassador, Ron Malka, and referred to him as a “terrorist of the terrorist nation.”

It claimed to be from the “India Hizbollah,” a group that is not previously known, according to the report, which included a photo of the letter. Lebanese Hezbollah is an Iran-backed terror organization that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Warning that Malka is in their crosshairs, the letter said “you cannot stop anyway no matter how hard you would pick, we can end your life anytime anywhere.”

Declaring that all “participants and partners” of Israeli “terrorist ideology will be no more in existence” the letter warned: “now get ready for a big and better revenge for our heroes.”

“All that is left is for you to count the days,” the note ended.

A police statement described the explosion as caused by a “very low-intensity improvised device” that blew out the windows on three nearby cars and said a preliminary investigation “suggests a mischievous attempt to create a sensation.”

Channel 12 reported at the time that Israeli explosive experts and the Mossad intelligence agency were involved in the investigation.

Police close off a street after an explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on January 29, 2021. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)

Israeli missions have already been on alert around the world in the wake of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist in November of last year. Tehran has blamed Israel and promised revenge.

In 2012, the wife of Israel’s defense attaché to India was moderately injured after a motorcyclist attached a bomb to her car near Israel’s New Delhi embassy. Iran was suspected in the attack.

It was part of a series of attempted attacks against Israeli targets around the world attributed to Iran. The same day as the 2012 New Delhi blast, a bomb was discovered on an Israeli diplomat’s car in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

The next day, three Iranians accidentally blew up their house in Thailand. The men, who were never charged with terrorism, were freed last year as Iran released Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert who was imprisoned for more than two years on spying charges.

There was speculation that those incidents were in response to Israel’s alleged assassinations of multiple Iranian nuclear scientists as Jerusalem fought to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

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