Israel boosts level of alert after embassy attacks

Bomb planted on car by motorcyclist uses similar method to recent bombings of Iranian scientists.

India police inspect car after embassy attack_390 (photo credit: Reuters)
India police inspect car after embassy attack_390
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel raised the level of alert at all of its embassies and consulates overseas following a coordinated attack against embassy personnel on Monday in Georgia and India.
The attacks came the day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008. Hezbollah has tried a number of times in recent years to strike back at Israel, which it holds responsible for Mughniyeh’s death.
The defense establishment is concerned the attacks on Monday were just the beginning and Hezbollah is plotting additional attacks that could be launched in the coming days.
In the first attack, the wife of a Defense Ministry official stationed at the embassy in India was wounded when a bomb exploded in her car as she drove near the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi. The woman, identified as Tal Yehoshua-Koren, sustained moderate shrapnel wounds and underwent surgery on Monday evening.
Yehoshua-Koren, who also works at the embassy, left in the afternoon with a driver to pick up her children from school. The blast occurred shortly after they left the embassy – before she picked up the children – and eyewitnesses said a motorcyclist drove to the car and attached a magnetic device to the back of the vehicle.
The bombing was very similar to the method used in a slew of assassinations of Iranian scientists in recent years that the Islamic regime has blamed on Israel.
Two Israeli doctors – coincidentally in New Delhi at the time, in coordination with the Foreign Ministry – arrived at the hospital and took charge of her medical care. Defense officials said they were discussing the possibility of evacuating Yehoshua-Koren to Israel.
In the second attack, an embassy staffer in Tbilisi discovered a bomb underneath his car as he was driving to the embassy on Monday morning. The staffer – a local Georgian – heard something during the drive, pulled over to the side of the road, noticed the bomb and called local authorities. The bomb was defused before exploding.
“We have expected this for some time and knew that Iran and Hezbollah were plotting an attack,” a senior official said.
In both India and Georgia, local security agencies were beefing up security around Israeli missions in coordination with Israel.
The level of alert was also raised in additional countries where Israeli delegations are believed to be under threat.
Diplomats worldwide were told to check in with their offices, and Israeli citizens overseas were asked to raise their level of vigilance.
Over the years, a number of attacks – against the Israeli embassies in Azerbaijan and Bangkok, an Israeli airliner in Turkey and Israeli tourists in the Sinai peninsula – have been thwarted.
In recent years, Hezbollah is believed to have significantly upgraded its overseas infrastructure with particular emphasis on Europe, South America and Southeast Asia.
Hezbollah has an overseas division based in Beirut but functions similarly to a subunit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’s Al- Quds Force, which is responsible for Tehran’s support of terrorist groups around the world.
The head of the Hezbollah unit, which numbers a few dozen operatives, is believed to be Talal Hamia, a veteran member of the guerrilla organization. He is assisted by his bodyguard, Ahmed Faid, and Hezbollah’s top bomb expert, Ali Najan al- Din Hamia, who was allegedly involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires that targeted the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish Community Center.
Another member of the cell, Majd al-Zakur, is referred to as “the forger” and is responsible for procuring and preparing fake passports. One such effort involved the Swedish passport that appears to have been used by the Hezbollah operative caught in Thailand last month, who was allegedly planning to bomb the Israeli embassy.