'Israeli victim gives testimony on Delhi attack'

'Times of India' reports Tal Yehoshua-Koren told investigators she saw bomber prior to attack; terror victim lands in Israel.

February 18, 2012 01:28
2 minute read.
Indian police inspect bombed car in New Delhi

Indian police inspect bombed car in New Delhi 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma)


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Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of an Israeli diplomat injured in a terror attack in New Delhi on Monday, gave her testimony on the incident to Indian investigators before leaving for Israel in an air ambulance on Friday, The Times of India reported. Koren landed in Israel just before midnight on Friday and was taken to Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

According to the report, Koren told Indian police that a bomber wearing black clothes and riding a black motorcycle stuck the bomb on the vehicle and that it exploded only 30 or 40 seconds later. A motorcyclist 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.

"I saw a biker close to my car when I was going to the American embassy. There was a push on the car from behind and I saw the biker. I thought the biker had touched the car. I even lowered the windowpanes to say something to him but he escaped by then," the Times quoted Koren as saying.

Officials told the Times that Koren's testimony could change their assumptions that the bomb was a low-intensity incendiary device which explodes in three to five seconds. They added that a bomb that took longer to explode would likely have a timer or remote device. "We have to take a relook at all our theories," one official said.

The officials told the Times that Koren's description of the suspect was different than that which they had been relying on - that the bomber was on a red bike wearing a brown jacket.

According to the report, Mossad agents visited the scene of the blast on Friday, reenacting the attack.

Top intelligence analysts, briefing senior Indian 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.” A Thursday 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.

Kanchan Gupta contributed to this report.

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