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.

Top 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 agents.

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 identified.

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 comment.

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