Israeli envoys targeted in India and Georgia

Israeli diplomats have been targeted by car bombings in India and Georgia, leaving three injured and Israel’s foreign minister promising a response.

An Israeli embassy car blew up in New Delhi, the Indian capital, injuring an Israeli diplomat and three other people, but it was not immediately known whether the explosion was caused by a bomb, officials said.

The Indian Foreign Ministry did not identify the wounded, but officials said the driver and a diplomat’s wife were injured.

Another Israeli embassy vehicle was targeted in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where the car’s driver found a package attached to the undercarriage and police discovered and defused a grenade.

“We know exactly who is responsible for the attack and who planned it, and we’re not going to take it lying down,” Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, told reporters.

Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry, reporting from Jerusalem, said the attacks were “near simultaneous”.

“That is going to lend weight to those who will point the finger at a larger organisation, maybe even a country like Iran, maybe Hezbollah,” Perry said.

High-security area

Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri, reporting from New Delhi, said the targeted van in India’s capital was parked down the street from the Israeli embassy in a high security area, about a kilometre away from the prime minister’s residence.

“Witnesses discribed how the car exploded in flames. One side of the car had been completely charred. The bonnet had been flug open and exploded in flames.

“Other witnesses discribed two people on motor bikes throwing some kind of device [at the car], and police are trying to find out what kind of device that was. Indian forensic teams as well as Israeli embassy staff are at the scene of the incident, trying to piece together what exactly has happened,” our correspondent said.

Three people were injured when the car exploded, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told the AFP news agency, adding there were no details about their condition.

David Goldfarb, Israeli embassy spokesman, said that one of the occupants in the car was an Israeli diplomat, but declined to identify him.

A photograph on NDTV showed the Toyota station wagon engulfed in flames in the middle of the road. Later television footage showed the vehicle burnt out and the area cordoned off by police.

“There was an explosion in an Israeli diplomat’s car but we don’t know how it happened, Goldfarb said. “We are in constant contact with the local authorities.”

Shota Uitashvili, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the car in Tbilisi was in a car park about 200 metres from the embassy, where the driver had parked it in the morning after coming from his home.

As Perry points out, Israeli embassies had already been on high-alert for potential attacks.

“It was four years ago, almost to the day, on February 12 that Imad Mughniyah, the military leader of Hezbollah was assassinated in Damascus and Hezbollah has been warning that they will retaliate for this assassination and has always pointed the finger at Israel,” Perry said.

“All of Israel’s embassies were on high alert starting on the 12th as a normal course of security every year. But this is the first year that we have seen simultaneous attacks on foreign soil, which was also something that Hezbollah said it would do.”

Source: Al Jazeera