Israel blames Hezbollah, Iran in twin embassy attentats
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran Feb. 13 atfter an Israeli diplomat's wife in New Delhi was injured by a car bomb, and a second bomb was disabled in a staff member's car at the Israeli embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. "Iran is behind these attacks; it is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world," Netanyahu said in a statement. Citing recent incidents in Azerbaijan and Thailand, Netanyahu said: "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." The attacks came the day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh in a Damascus car bomb blast.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "the Iranians and Hezbollah are determined to sabotage the Israeli way of life and act against Israelis everywhere. We will have to act against the terrorist front and continue to prepare for the challenges ahead." The Iranian embassy in New Delhi rejected the accusation as "untrue and sheer lies, like previous times," according to official IRNA news agency.
In a Jan. 24 speech, Israel's military chief, Lt-Gen. Benny Gantz, warned of "ongoing attempts by Hezbollah and other hostile entities to execute vicious terror attacks at locations far away from the state of Israel. I suggest that no one test our resolve." (JTA, YNet, Feb. 14; Reuters, Jan. 13)
Iran's Foreign Ministry meanwhile summoned Azerbaijan's ambassador in Tehran to protest alleged Israeli intelligence activity in the ex-Soviet republic. Iranian officials demanded the Azeri government prevent Mossad's "espionage activities" within the country. (Bloomberg, Feb. 13)