Israel Embassy Blast Prelim Probe Finds Military-Grade Explosive
A low-intensity IED blast took place near the Israeli Embassy in Delhi on Friday, with no injuries reported.
A Delhi Police Special Cell team visited the spot near the Israeli Embassy in Delhi on Saturday, 30 January, where a low-intensity IED blast took place a day before.
The embassy was reportedly already on high alert before the blast went off due to “threats” it had been receiving, Israeli envoy Ron Malka told NDTV.
While no injuries were reported, Israel was reportedly treating it as a "terrorist incident". The probe into the incident is underway, with samples collected from the spot by a crime investigation team on Saturday.
According to The Indian Express, preliminary forensic examination of the site revealed that the explosive used was PETN — a military grade explosive that has been used in the past by groups such as Al Qaeda for making bombs.
The report also said that investigators found remains of a “Hi-Watt” 9 volt battery “for transistor radios” from the blast site which have been used earlier in explosives made by the Indian Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
According to sources cited by news agency ANI, the Special Cell has obtained CCTV footage showing a cab dropping off two people who walked towards the spot where the blast took place. The driver has been contacted and sketches of the two people are being prepared with the driver's inputs, the sources said, adding that it is yet to be ascertained whether they had any role to play in the incident.
An envelope containing a letter addressed to the ‘Israel Embassy ambassador’ has also been retrieved from the site, calling the blast a “trailer” and also mentioning two “Iranian martyrs” – Qasem Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – The Indian Express reported, citing sources.
High Alert Issued
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was in touch with senior Delhi police officials regarding the incident and was monitoring the situation, reports said.
“High alert has been issued for all the airports and the government buildings across the country,” an official of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which handles security at 64 airports across the country, said, according to IANS.
Mumbai Police was also on high alert after the blast in Delhi, ANI reported.
Incidentally, the blast took place less than two kilometres from Vijay Chowk, where President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others were attending the Beating Retreat ceremony.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter on Friday evening to express his concern over the blast, saying, “Any attempt to disturb the peace of Delhi should be firmly dealt with.”
Israel Treating Blast as Terrorist Incident
Speaking to ANI, Ron Malka, the Ambassador of Israel to India, said on Saturday, "As of now, our strong assumption is that it's a terror attack that targeted the Israeli Embassy."
“The external affairs minister (S Jaishankar) called our minister of foreign affairs, foreign secretary called our DG in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NSA (Ajit Doval) called our NSA. There’s full collaboration. They gave their assurances and offered all support, protection or assistance that we need.”Ron Malka, Ambassador of Israel to India, to ANI
Earlier, Israel’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement saying, “The incident is under investigation by the authorities in India, who are in contact with the relevant Israeli authorities.”
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar took to Twitter to say that he had spoken to the Foreign Minister of Israel and had assured him of “fullest protection for the Embassy and Israeli diplomats.”
The Israeli FM also took to Twitter to talk about the conversation with Jaishankar, saying “the Indian authorities are committed to the security of all Israeli diplomatic staff and will continue to act resolutely to locate all those involved in the explosion.”
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson Ofir Gendelman also said that India’s NSA Ajit Doval had spoken to Israel’s NSC head and updated him on the country’s efforts to investigate the explosion.
Incidentally, Friday also marks the 29th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
Reuters reported that in 2012, a blast near the embassy had injured an Israeli diplomat’s wife, her driver and two others.
Mischievous Attempt to Create Sensation: Delhi Police
According to the police, a very “low intensity improvised device” had gone off just after 5 pm near Jindal House, in the vicinity of the Israel Embassy. They also said that no damage to property had occurred except for the window panes of three vehicles parked nearby.
“Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation,” the police said. The Abdul Kalam Road was then cordoned off. Three fire tenders were also rushed to the scene of the explosion.
(With inputs from ANI, IANS, Reuters and NDTV.)
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