January 31, 2021
National Security Guard soldiers inspect the site of a blast near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, Jan. 30, 2021. (Photo: AP/Dinesh Joshi)
Indian terrorist group Jaish-ul-Hind has claimed responsibility for the blast that took place near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on Friday, local media reported.
No one was injured in the explosion, which took place on the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
According to the India.com news site, the investigation so far has recovered social-media chatter according to which Jaish-ul-Hind operatives boast about carrying out the attack.
The Indian Express reported on a police source as saying that the bomb appeared to have been planted in a flowerpot on the road divider. According to the report, a letter found on the scene, addressed to "Israel Embassy ambassador," said that the blast was a "trailer," suggesting that it was a prelude to future attacks against the embassy or other Israeli targets in the country.
The note also refers to "Iranian martyrs" Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iran on Jan. 3, 2020, and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the Iranian military nuclear program, who was assassinated near Tehran on Nov. 27, in a hit for which Iran has blamed Israel.
A team of New Delhi Police forensic experts visited the site of the explosion on Friday to collect more evidence, including samples that will ascertain the chemical composition used in the crude, low-intensity explosive device that was employed in the failed attack.
Police were also looking at CCTV footage from security cameras at the embassy and from opposite the building. The footage showed a cab dropping off two men who walk towards the spot near the embassy where the explosion took place.
The driver has been questioned and sketches of the suspects "are being prepared," the report said.
Other reports said that forensic experts have pieces of a soda can and ball bearings that were apparently stuffed in the can, which scattered at a radius of 25 meters (yards) from the blast site, India.com said.
"The ball bearings hit several cars. Police have not found any device or battery at the spot," a police source said.
The report noted that government buildings near the embassy were placed on alert following the blast.
Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka confirmed that Jerusalem was treating the incident as a terrorist attack, saying that the embassy was lending authorities its full cooperation in the investigation.
"The investigation is ongoing, gathering all evidence from the scene. There is full collaboration between Indian and Israeli authorities. As of now, our strong assumption is that it is a terror attack that targeted the Israeli Embassy. Fortunately, nobody was hurt," he said.
According to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday spoke by telephone with Israeli National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat and delivered an update on the investigation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked to convey to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Israel has complete confidence that the investigation will be "exhaustive," and that Indian authorities will ensure the safety of Israelis and Jews in the country.