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Iran behind Israel embassy attack in India, bomb planted by local Shia cell: Report

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Iran’s Quds Force was behind the January attack near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, but a local Shia cell in India planted the bomb, Indian media said central counterterrorism agencies concluded on Monday.

A small bomb exploded close to Israel’s embassy in New Delhi on January 29, an incident that an Israeli official had said was being treated as terrorism.

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“Although there were no casualties, India and all elements in Israel regard the explosion as a terrorist incident,” an Israeli official, speaking off the record, told Reuters at the time.

Paramilitary troops stand guard after an explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India, January 29, 2021. (Reuters)
Paramilitary troops stand guard after an explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India, January 29, 2021. (Reuters)

The blast occurred while Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were participating in a military ceremony a kilometer away.

Investigations found that the explosive device used in the attack was remote-controlled, and triggered off by a bomber using line of sight, The Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

According to the counterterrorism agencies, the device contained ammonium powder and had ball bearings, which shattered the windows of three cars parked nearby.

Security officials are seen at the site of an explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India, January 29, 2021. (reuters)
Security officials are seen at the site of an explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India, January 29, 2021. (reuters)

The agencies also recovered a letter from the scene of the attack addressed to Israel’s ambassador to India, Ron Malka, according to The Hindustan Times.

In it, the ambassador was called a terrorist and a devil from a terrorist nation.

The letter also swore revenge for the killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Investigators looked into the contents of the letter – including the style of writing and the spelling of the names – which revealed that it was written by an Iranian, and handed over to a local Shia module by an agent, the Indian newspaper reported.

A US airstrike killed Soleimani and al-Mohandes at Baghdad’s International Airport on January 3.

The Iranian embassy in India did not respond to The Hindustan Times’ request for a comment.

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