Blast in Israel embassy car injures four, Iran blamed (Intro Roundup)

February 13th, 2012 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi/Jerusalem, Feb 13 (IANS) An Israeli embassy car was gutted after an explosion Monday in the heart of the Indian capital, leaving the wife of the defence attache and three Indians injured. Israel immediately blamed Iran, triggering a potential diplomatic war.

The early evening attack came on the same day when an attempted attack on the Israeli embassy in Georgian capital Tbilisi was foiled when an employee discovered a car fitted with an explosive device.

By late evening, Tal Yehoshua Koren, who suffered multiple injuries in Delhi, underwent a surgery for spinal injuries at a hospital in the diplomatic enclave, Medical Superintendent N.D. Khurana told IANS.

“She is critical but stable,” Khurana said, adding that she was brought around 3.30 p.m.

The woman, who worked in the Israeli embassy but was not a diplomat, was going to the American Embassy School to fetch her children in a Tata Innova car.

Police said her car had halted at a traffic junction on Aurangzeb Road when a man on a red motorcycle and sporting a brown colour jacked came by, placed an explosive substance in the rear of the car and sped away.

Within seconds, there was a thunderous explosion that was heard in a radius of one kilometer, Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta told a news conference.

The car immediately caught fire. After the initial shock, people in the vicinity rushed to the vehicle, pulled out the badly injured Israeli woman and helped to douse the fire.

The incident took place at the Safdarjung Road-Aurangzeb Road crossing, not far from the 7 Race Course Road residence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Said Ravi Singh, a passer-by: “There was a massive explosion. There were two people in the car. Both were injured.”

Two Indian men in another car nearby were also injured. They were identified as Arun Sharma, 61, of Gurgaon in Haryana and Manjeet Singh, 78, of Hari Nagar in west Delhi.

Along with the Israeli car’s driver, Manoj Sharma, 42, all three Indians suffered mostly facial injuries. They were given medical care at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and discharged.

The road was immediately sealed off and forensic and explosives experts combed the area for clues. Police launched a major hunt for the biker.

While Gupta said “it is too early to say it was a terrorist attack”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for both incidents — in Delhi and Tbilisi.

Israeli media quoted Netanyahu as saying that Israel will not cease its fight against international terror, of which he branded Iran as the “world’s greatest exporter”.

“In the last few months we have witnesses several attempts to target Israeli citizens and Jews in a series of countries such as Azerbaijan and Thailand,” he said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who got a quick telephone call from his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna offering his regret over the attack, said Israel will not tolerate an attack on its officials abroad.

Meanwhile, Israeli’s ambassador to India, Alon Ushpiz, told TimesNow that he was sure India would not tolerate an attack on diplomats on its soil.

He added: “We feel very secure in India, we have the full cooperation of your authorities, we have full confidence in the Indian authorities.”

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