Israel will “not scramble the jet fighters” in response to Monday’s attacks
against diplomatic missions abroad, one diplomatic official said, even though
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held high-level security consultations
throughout the day to discuss the twin assaults.
Within hours of Monday’s attacks in Tbilisi and New Delhi, Netanyahu placed the
blame squarely on Tehran, saying Israel would continue to “systematically and
with patience use a strong arm” against international terrorism originating from
Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of a diplomat stationed in New
Delhi, was moderately wounded there, along with her driver and two
passersby. In Georgia, no one was injured when the bomb under the car of
a local embassy employee was discovered and neutralized.
Iran, and its proxy Hezbollah, was responsible for a string of attempted attacks
against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad in recent months, including in
Thailand and Azerbaijan. In each of the previous cases, the local
authorities attacks helped thwart the attacks, he said.
“Iran, which is
behind these attacks, is the biggest exporter of terrorism in the world,” the
prime minister said. “The Israeli government and its security forces will
continue to work together with local security services against these terrorist
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman hinted at an active Israeli
response, but gave little indication of what he had in mind in comments he made
soon after the attacks.
“The attacks in New Delhi and Tbilisi remind us
again that Israel and its citizens are targets for terrorist attacks both inside
the country and abroad,” he said. “We can identify exactly who is responsible
for these attacks, but as diplomats will only say that we will not let it
One of the Foreign Ministry’s spokesmen, Paul Hirschson, also
indicated that Israel would respond forcefully, saying in a conference call with
journalists organized by The Israel Project that “I don’t think we’re going to
say we’re going to twiddle our thumbs happily at attempts on Israelis
Tehran, meanwhile, denied any responsibility for the attacks,
with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast saying it was another
phase in Israel’s “psychological war” against the Islamic
Iran’s official news agency IRNA quoted him as saying that
Israel itself was behind the attacks to “tarnish Iran’s friendly ties” with
Georgia and India.
Mehmanparast said this type of activity was in
Israel’s “innate nature,” and that “Tehran condemns terrorism in strongest term
as Iran has been a victim of terrorism.”
Earlier on Monday, the Iranian
ambassador to New Delhi rejected as “sheer lies” accusations that it was
involved in the bomb attack.
“Any terrorist attack is condemned [by Iran]
and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official,” IRNA quoted
Mehdi Nabizadeh as saying. “These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like
Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said the attacks did
not take Israel by surprise, and that they came amid a wave of attempted attacks
including plots against Israeli and Jewish targets last month in Bangkok and
Baku. One official said Israel did not make public other thwarted attacks over
the past year.
“The attacks were not a surprise,” one official said. “The
only surprise was a tactical one, regarding where they took
Hirschson said it was unlikely that the terrorists picked India,
site of 2008’s terrorist massacre in Mumbai, whose targets included the local
Chabad House, because of an interest in disrupting Indo-Israeli ties, but rather
because it was where they felt they could successfully carry out an
India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna phoned Liberman and
expressed his “shock” over the attack in New Delhi.
Liberman’s office, Krishna said India would make all efforts to find those
responsible and bring them to justice. He also said India would provide the
Israeli Embassy with all the security it needed, and stressed the importance
India placed on its friendship with Israel.
Krishna visited Israel last month,
the highest level Indian official to do so in more than a
Liberman thanked his Indian counterpart and said Israel viewed
India as a true friend.
This was not the first time terrorists have
targeted Israeli diplomatic missions abroad, and “no Israel diplomat anywhere in
the world will be deterred by terrorism,” he said.
In the US, meanwhile,
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks “in the strongest
She indicated the US was ready to assist with the
investigation of “these cowardly acts,” and added that “the scourge of terrorism
is an affront to the entire international community.”
EU foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed
similar sentiments, with Hague saying he was “shocked and appalled” by the
attacks.Hilary Leila Krieger and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to