Exploded car at Israeli New Delhi embassy in India 390R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma)
NEW DELHI – Security agencies are scouring records of arrivals at Delhi’s Indira
Gandhi International Airport and other international airports across the
country, a day after the targeted attack on the car in which Israeli Embassy
staffer Tal Yehoshua-Koren, wife of the defense attaché at the mission, was
Also under intense scrutiny are airport records of departures to
Middle-East destinations on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
there is no official confirmation, investigators are believed to be looking into
the possibility that either Lebanese or Palestinian nationals carried out
Monday’s attack, with logistical support from local operatives affiliated with
an extremist Islamic group or individuals who subscribe to anti-Israel
A senior official said on condition of anonymity that the
involvement of Iranians was not being ruled out. Investigators are looking into
the possibility that Iranian students at Indian colleges provided logistical
support for the attack, and Iranians who have entered India as tourists are
under the scanner as well.
Records at Foreigners’ Registration Offices
are also being studied for potential clues. But the entire effort could prove to
be a Herculean task, and swift results are unlikely.
Commissioner B. K. Gupta, in an extended media briefing on Tuesday
evening, confirmed that the attackers had used a so-called “sticky bomb,” one
that is stuck to the target. The bomb “was not bigger than a palmtop or a
brick,” he said, adding that it “would have exploded in three to five seconds
after it was stuck on the vehicle.” Investigators have recovered
“magnetic pieces” that formed part of the bomb.
According to eyewitness
accounts, a motorcyclist stuck “an object” to the car when it slowed down at the
traffic light a short distance from the prime minister’s residence. An explosion
followed almost immediately, engulfing the car in flames and hurling Yehoshua-
Koren out. She has since undergone emergency surgery, and doctors at Primus
Hospital said Tuesday that she needed to be under constant observation for next
24 hours. However, they said, she is “conscious and talking to her
Gupta said that “the motorcyclist hit a bollard after
attaching the bomb, moved to the other lane, apparently took a left turn and
Investigators are poring over the footage of security cameras
outside the Israeli Embassy for clues to identify the person on the motorcycle,
who would have tailed the car from the embassy gates. The recordings from the
security camera installed at the nearby bungalow of a business tycoon are also
believed to be under scrutiny, although no official was willing to confirm
According to the Delhi Police chief, the bomb could have been
detonated “using a mechanical trigger, a remote or a timer.”
security agencies said the bomb was “very sophisticated” and that this was the
first time such a bomb had been used in India.
Although a formal report
by forensic experts has not yet come out, experts who examined the car and the
site of the explosion are believed to be of the view that the bomb involved
neither a battery nor a circuit.
The sources said on condition of
anonymity that the bomb was likely detonated using a remote device. Since there
are jammers along the stretch of Aurangzeb Road where the embassy and other
high-profile establishments are located and around the prime minister’s
residence at 7 Race Course Road, a remote device cannot be used there. The only
spot where the remote device would work is the immediate vicinity of the traffic
light at the intersection of Aurangzeb and Safdarjung Road. That is precisely
where the explosion occurred.
The sources pointed out that if a remote
device had been used to trigger the explosion, it meant a second person was
involved in the bombing. That person may have been standing on the pavement or
traveling in another vehicle, they said, noting that there would have had to be
clockwork coordination between the second perpetrator and the motorcyclist –
something that would indicate a well-planned and rehearsed plot.
there have been several bombings by terrorists affiliated with Islamic groups
based in both Pakistan and India, most recently by the Indian Mujahedeen, this
is the first time a sticky bomb has been used in so daring a manner and with
such practiced ease.
“It is quite clear that a very well-trained person
has committed this attack,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram said after reviewing
investigations into the incident.
The police chief echoed this view,
virtually ruling out the involvement of the Indian Mujahedeen: “It could not be
a normal terror module which one has witnessed here. The attacker was very well
trained. He managed to escape from the spot within a few seconds and without
A senior police official said investigators were
looking into whether the bomber had been trailing the car for the past four days
to acquaint himself with the usual route and to get the lay of the land.
According to this official, police are investigating whether the perpetrators
used any Iranian residents in India.
Earlier on Tuesday, Chidambaram told
journalists that he was “not pointing a finger at any particular group or any
particular organization, but whoever did it, we condemn it in the strongest
Home Secretary R. K. Singh, asked whether there was an Iranian
hand in the attack, said, “We have no evidence to name any country. It’s
premature to take any country’s name.”
Gupta added, “We are looking at