NEW DELHI – India’s intelligence agencies are zeroing in on the possibility of
an Iranian hand in the targeted “sticky bomb” attack on Tal Yehoshua-Koren, wife
of the Israel defense attaché, in New Delhi on February 13. A motorcyclist had
planted the bomb on Yehoshua- Koren’s car at a traffic light, a short distance
from the Israeli embassy and the Indian prime minister’s residence.
intelligence analysts, briefing senior officials on their assessment of the
incident thus far, expressed the view that the attack was definitely carried out
by a “foreign bomber” who could be “an Iranian affiliated to a Shi’ite terrorist
group.” Thursday’s briefing was attended by India’s National Security Adviser
Shivshankar Menon, Home Secretary R.K. Singh, and officials from the Research
and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency, and the Intelligence
Bureau, its domestic intelligence agency.
According to the assessment,
logistical support was provided to the “foreign attacker” by “local contacts,”
said a senior official who insisted on anonymity. The bomber is believed to be
an Iranian, with the plot thought to have been put into action some six months
ago, once the contacts were secured. Investigators are now focusing their
efforts on identifying these local contacts.
Intelligence and security
agencies have yet to reach a decisive conclusion. They are looking into the
possibility that the bomber may have been a Shi’ite extremist from Lebanon, a
Palestinian or a Jordanian, and are scrutinizing records from the Bureau of
Immigration and the Foreigners Registration Office.
Iranian, Lebanese and
Palestinian students and visitors to New Delhi and other cities are also being
investigated. Agencies are examining their activities and movements over the
past few months, and are believed to be questioning some travel
Information communicated by Thai authorities investigating the
Bangkok explosions, who confirmed Iranian involvement in the Thai bombings, was
utilized by the Indian agencies while preparing their initial assessment report.
They are awaiting a detailed report from Georgia on the attempt to bomb an
Israeli embassy staffer’s car in Tbilisi.
Forensic experts have
determined that the sticky bomb used in the attempt on Yehoshua-Koren’s car was
a “sophisticated device” that has not been used by terrorists in India until
this point. They have not yet concluded whether it was similar to the Bangkok
bombs, although in both cases magnetic components have been
The bomb used to attack Yehoshua-Koren would have had a
“devastating impact” had it been “planted in the right place” in the car, such
as below the fuel tank, say forensic experts.
India’s External Affairs
Ministry and Home Ministry have not officially acknowledged the involvement of a
“foreign hand,” or commented on the possible identity or nationality of the
bomber. In official briefings for journalists, they stated it was too early to