Iranians may be suspects, but cannot rule out other jihadis: Experts

February 16th, 2012 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Iranian militants may be the prime suspect behind the Israeli embassy car blast here Monday, but the role of other jihadi terrorist outfits cannot be ruled out, say security experts.

“I put 50-50 percent suspicion on the Iranian outfits and the Pakistani ISI-backed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) or other outfits,” Ved Marwah, security expert and former governor of Jharkahnd, who was also the chief of Delhi Police, told IANS.

“In fact, it suits the ISI to have conducted such an attack as it could achieve two goals: to attack the Israelis - which will earn them appreciation from various jihadi outfits and Islamist fundamentalist groups all over the world - and also to create a wedge between India and Iran, which have good relations,” said Marwah, 79, who was also security advisor to the governor of Jammu and Kashmir during the peak of the militant violence in the 1990s.

Marwah recalled that LeT had attacked Israelis in India - when the Chabad House was attacked during the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike.

E.N. Rammohan, former chief of the Border Security Force (BSF), told IANS that he “had no doubt the attack was done by Iranians”.

“I see a lot of similarities in the attacks on Israelis in Delhi and the attack in Bangkok - in timing and type of attack. All needles of suspicion are on Iranians. But involvement of other outfits including ISI backed outfits and local actors like the Indian Mujahideen has also to be probed,” Rammohan, who was also a security advisor to the governor in the militancy-hit Manipur, said.

However, security expert Ajai Sahni feels that “it was too early to name any country or any outfit till we have concrete evidence”.

“No doubt it is a failure of our internal security administration and the incident will have external ramifications,” Sahni, executive director of New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, told IANS.

Even if the attack is done by a foreigner, it can be a non-state actor or some radical element, he added.

Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief P.K. Hormis Tharakan feels “though the circumstantial suspicion is on the Iranian outfits”, one should pursue the probe on various angles.

“A Pakistani hand - direct or indirect - cannot be ruled out,” he told IANS over phone from Bangalore.

Tharakan said though a limpet bomb attack was new in India, attacks on Israelis were not. During the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Rabbi Gavrivel Holzberg, his wife Rivka and four other Jews were killed at the Mumbai Chabad House, he recalled.

Pakistan-trained militant Riazuddin Naser, who was arrested in Davangere district in Karnataka in January 2008, had told the police that they had plans to attack Jews in Goa and other tourist spots, Tharakan said.

Tal Yehoshua, 40, wife of an Israeli defence attache and three others were injured in the bomb attack on an Israeli embassy car on Aurangzeb Road here Feb 13.

An unidentified motorcyclist attached an improvised magnetic device to the car which exploded into flames within minutes.

While the Israeli envoy in New Delhi alleged that the attack was planned in Iran, the spokesperson of the Iranian foreign ministry had made the counter-allegation that Israel itself was behind the attack.

Many in the security circles have suspected the Shia militant organisation Hezbollah and Iran for the blast, as it occurred on the fourth anniversary of the killing of the Hezbollah deputy leader Imad Mughniyah.

Without mentioning any country or outfit, Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said that the attacker was a “very well trained person”.

(George Joseph can be contacted at george.j@ians.in)

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