Israel’s prime minister has accused Iran of being behind a pair of car bombings against Israeli diplomatic targets in India and Georgia. 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.
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. Meanwhile, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said, his country will not tolerate attack on its diplomats posted abroad.
Lieberman said, the attack on Israeli official in India, attempted attack in Georgia show Israel and its citizens face a daily threat of terror, both physical and diplomatic.
“This just means that the State of Israel and its citizens face a daily threat of terror, both physical and diplomatic. We know exactly whose responsible for the attack and who planned it and we’re not going to take it lying down,” Lieberman said.
“Today’s events remind us again how Israeli diplomats stand at the forefront of the fight which Israel is leading around the world, the FM added. All of Monday’s incidents come a day following the fourth anniversary of the assasination of slain Hezbollah’s deputy leader Imad Mughniyah.
The attacks come one day after the fourth anniversary of the assasination of slain Hezbollah’s deputy leader Imad Mughniyah . Last year, Israeli embassies throughout the world received several suspected terror threats that coincided with the third anniversary of Mughniyah’s death.
Mughniyah was killed when his car exploded in 2008 and Hezbollah blames Israel for his assassination, despite Israel’s denial of any involvement. The threat was believed to be directed at embassies in Africa, Southeast Asia and Caucasus.
The bureau cautioned the Israeli public that because of the increased threat of terror attacks against Israelis abroad, travels certain destinations should be avoided, including Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania and Venezuela.
Just last month, the head of Israel’s Counterterrorism Bureau said that it has no concrete information regarding a possible terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.
The bureau emphasized that the initial warning from the head of security at the Transportation Ministry regarding increased security in European countries took place over three weeks ago. However, the Transportation Ministry insisted the threats are credible and that Israeli tourists in Europe should be vigilant.
Earlier, Danny Shenar, head of security at the Transportation Ministry, told Haaretz that he asked European security services “to tighten security around groups of Israelis in various resorts like ski resorts and hotels.” According to Shenar, “I asked to formally tighten security because I am worried about a security-related incident.”
Shenar added: “I’ve asked security services in Europe to escort groups of Israelis and conduct searches with police dogs. Iran rejected as “sheer lies” the accusations that it was involved in the bomb attack.
“Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official,” Mehdi Nabizadeh was quoted as saying by IRNA. “These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “I was shocked and appalled to hear of the attack today on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi and the failed attack on another vehicle in Tbilisi.
“Our thoughts are with those injured and their families. This Government condemns terrorism in all forms. We urge both the Indian and Georgian authorities to fully investigate these deliberate attacks on diplomatic staff.”
External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna rang up his Israeli counterpart and assured that the Indian government will do its utmost to probe the attack and bring the guilty to book.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today strongly condemned the bombing on Israeli diplomatic vehicles in India and attempted attack on the Israeli diplomatic personnel in Georgia.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India and the attempted attack on Israeli Embassy personnel in Georgia. The scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community,” Clinton said in a statement.
“The United States places a high priority on the safety and security of diplomatic personnel around the world and we stand ready to assist with any investigation of these cowardly actions,” she said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured personnel in New Delhi and their loved ones,” she said.