Low-Intensity Blast Near Israel Embassy To Give Message On Iran: Sources

As India assured "full protection" for the diplomats, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed "full confidence" in New Delhi's probe into the blast.

The blast outside Israel Embassy took place at 5:05 pm.

New Delhi:

A team of Delhi Police's Special Cell is investigating the blast outside the Israel Embassy that took place on Friday evening, and sparked scare in the national capital's VIP zone. Initial probe suggests that "the purpose behind the low-intensity blast" was to send out a message to Israel on Iran, say sources.

Security agencies are on high alert and the blast "could be a prelude to a big conspiracy", officials have suggested. 

A "very low-intensity" IED (improvised explosive device) was detonated near the embassy at 5:05 pm on Friday, just 1.4 km from Vijay Chowk where President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior members of the government were attending the Beating Retreat ceremony that follows the Republic Day parade. No injuries were reported; only a few cars were damaged.

A letter recovered last evening is also being probed; it was addressed to the Israeli ambassador with the word - 'trailer' - written on it. It mentions the killing of top Iranian military officer Qasem Soleimani and Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last year. 

A team of the National Security Guard reached the blast site this evening to examine the nature of the explosives used. Delhi police and other investigative agencies are now carrying out investigation at several places where Iranian suspects may be hiding, say sources, adding that officials of Israeli agencies have also left for the national capital to assist the Delhi Police and other Indian security agencies. 

Amid reports that Israel's defence establishments suspect involvement of Iran's IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in the attack, Delhi Police has asked the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to provide details of the Iranian visitors to the national capital in the last few weeks.
 

"The forensic team has got evidence of the usage of ammonium nitrate for the blast which caused a small trench at the site," sources said, adding that if RDX was used then the impact would have been higher. 

On January 23, an alert was sounded by the Intel agencies about an attack on Jews in India. 

Securing surveillance footage also seems to be a challenge. The blast took place close to Jindal House. But no CCTV camera is installed there and the walls of the premises are very high. A CCTV camera was installed near a tree at the blast site but footage of that camera has not been retrieved yet due to technical issues. Police has now obtained footage of all CCTVs on Abdul Kalam Road, which is being investigated.

As India assured "full protection" for the diplomats, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed "full confidence" in New Delhi's probe into the blast. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also got in touch with his Israeli counterpart to share an update.  

Ahead of the attack, a Tel Aviv directive was issued for increased vigilance at its embassies around the world due to fears of an Iranian attack, news agency ANI reported. 

Israeli ambassador Ron Malka said the explosion happened "on the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries".  

"The Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar called his counterpart,  Gabi Ashkenazi, and assured him that the Indian authorities are committed to the security of all Israeli diplomatic staff and will continue to act resolutely to locate those involved in the explosion," he said in one of the tweets he posted linked to the incident.