Iran was behind the recent explosion outside Israel’s embassy in New Delhi, according to Indian officials.
The explosive device was reportedly planted by a local Shiite cell with links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force – the IRGC branch tasked with overseas operations.
It is believed the low-intensity device, which caused damage to cars nearby in January, was detonated by remote control. The attack took place the same day Israel and India marked the 29th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
Investigators discovered a letter close to the Israeli Embassy written in English and claiming to be from previously unknown group ‘India Hizbollah’. The note threatened that “this is just the beginning” and included a death threat against Ambassador Ron Malka. The letter 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 senior Iraqi militia commander who was killed alongside Soleimani; and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the so called ‘grandfather’ of Iran’s nuclear programme, killed in a November 2020 attack Tehran has blamed on Israel.
The Hindustan Times reported an official familiar with the investigation as saying: “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”.
News reports in India indicate that attempts had been originally made to divert investigators away from Iranian culpability and instead towards actors linked to the ‘Islamic State’ terror group.
The recent Embassy attack has similarities to a previous incident in 2012 when the wife of Israel’s defence attaché to India was moderately injured after a motorcyclist attached a bomb to her car near Israel’s New Delhi embassy. Around the same time, a bomb was also discovered on an Israeli diplomat’s car in Georgia and three Iranians accidentally blew up their house in Thailand. The incidents were all linked to Iran and had followed a series of unexplained assassinations of senior Iranian nuclear officials.