In late January, an Iranian linked terror cell, which planned to target Israelis and Jews, was exposed in Azerbaijan. During his recent trip to the United States, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel was concerned that Hezbollah would provoke Israel through an attack in order to distract the world’s attention from Syria. A French intelligence report stated a similar belief. On Friday, a Senior official in Hezbollah said on Al-Manar TV that “Israel can never be calm. Hezbollah will avenge the murder of the blessed Mughniyeh even it takes 100 years.”
Yet, Sunday’s Israel Hayom reported that “An Israeli defense source told Israel Hayom that the defense establishment is not on any special alert” for the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh.
Today, Israeli missions in Georgia, and India were targeted in terrorist attacks.
An explosion tore through an Israeli diplomat’s car in the vicinity of the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India, Monday. One woman was injured.
Initial details suggest that the injured woman is the wife of an Israeli diplomat for the Defense Ministry’s mission. The explosion apparently took place after she dropped of their children off at a local preschool. She suffered minor injuries and was rushed to a nearby medical center for treatment.
Explosives were also found near the Israeli Embassy building in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. The device was neutralized safely.
Ynet now reports that:
Indian media outlets reported that two bikers were tailing the car driven by the Israeli diplomat’s wife in New Delhi and that at one point one of them “hurled something at the car,” which exploded shortly after.
Neither of these appear to serve as the required Casus belli needed to initiate a war against Hezbollah, if it was the one behind the attacks.
On the other hand, Israel will have to consider the implication of ignoring the attacks and what that will do to the deterrence it has tried to create vis-à-vis Hezbollah following the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement on the attacks.
In recent months we have witnessed several attempts to attack Israeli citizens and Jews in several countries, including Azerbaijan, Thailand and others. In each instance we succeeded in foiling the attacks in cooperation with local authorities. Iran and its proxy Hezbollah were behind all of these attempted attacks. Today we have witnessed two additional attempted terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, the first against an Israeli woman who was wounded in New Delhi and the second against a local employee of the Israeli Embassy in Georgia. Iran is behind these attacks; it is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world. The Government of Israel and the security services will continue to act together with local security forces against such acts of terrorism. We will continue to take strong and systematic, yet patient, action against the international terrorism that originates in Iran.
Update: The Israeli woman injured in the attack in India was Tal Yehoshua-Koren. Reports now indicate that attack occured as she was on her way to pick up her children, not after she dropped them off, as earlier reports had suggested. Plans are currently being made for her to fly home to Israel after her surgery.
Update: CHALLAH @ The Jerusalem Post
India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna phoned Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Monday and expressed his “shock” over Monday’s attack on the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, after near simultaneous attacks were launched on the Israeli missions in India and Georgia.
According to Liberman’s office, Krishna said India would make all efforts to find those responsible and bring them to justice. He also said that India would provide the Israeli embassy with all the security it needed, and stressed the importance that India placed on its friendship with Israel.
In Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer asks Why India and Georgia?
Neither the timing nor the location of the simultaneous attacks on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi and Tbilisi were hardly surprising.
…The choice of the target was dictated by a number of considerations. If this attack was indeed carried out by Hezbollah or another Iranian-linked affiliate, the decision not to carry out a revenge attack on Israeli soil was made so as not to give Israel an excuse for retaliating against Hezbollah’s military apparatus in Lebanon. That is being kept for the day after Israel attacks Iran.
….Hezbollah’s and Iran’s focus therefore has been centered on Israeli representations abroad. Attempts to attack targets in Azerbaijan,Bulgaria and most recently Thailand were nipped in the bud through close cooperation between Israeli intelligence and the local security services.
….The twin locations, India and Georgia, are countries where Israel has close relationships with the local political leaderships and especially with the defense establishments. They are also countries where the security forces are not in total control of wide regions and borders.
Update: Iran has denied involvement in the attacks.
Update: It seems that the report regarding the motorcyclists is getting more traction.
Witnesses in New Delhi say the bomb that moderately injured the wife of an Israeli diplomat on Monday was attached to her car by a man driving a motorcycle, India’s police chief told reporters.
Update: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued the following statement.
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India and the attempted attack on Israeli Embassy personnel in Georgia. The scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community. The United States places a high priority on the safety and security of diplomatic personnel around the world and we stand ready to assist with any investigation of these cowardly actions. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured personnel in New Delhi and their loved ones.
Update: Michael Totten writes:
Hezbollah military commanders are legitimate targets. Diplomats, their families, and embassy staff aren’t. The Party of God isn’t just a guerrilla army with a missile arsenal. It remains, as ever, a terrorist organization.
While Jackson Diehl writes:
The bomb in New Delhi will certainly escalate tensions at a time when Israel is said to be considering a full-scale military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. But it could also endanger a vital economic lifeline for Tehran. That Iran would risk a strike in such a sensitive place suggests that its leaders are panicked.
Update: Iran, which previously denied involvement in the attack, has charged that Israel targeted its own diplomats to tarnish Iran’s image.
Update: Stratfor has summary video of today’s incident.