Attack in India May Produce More Evidence of Iranian Plot to Kill Israelis Abroad

Patrick Goodenough | July 31, 2012 | 5:13am EDT
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Indian security and forensic officials examine a car belonging to the Israel Embassy after an explosion in New Delhi on February 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

( – Police investigating an attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi last February reportedly are helping to piece together more evidence of an alleged plot by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to target Israelis abroad.

An Indian media report on Monday quoted from a formal request, sent by New Delhi police to authorities in Thailand, Georgia and Malaysia, as well as Israel and Iran, seeking help in their investigation into the Feb. 13 incident.

The wife of the defense attaché at the Israeli Embassy in the Indian capital was seriously injured, and her Indian driver and two other people were hurt, after a motorcyclist placed a magnetic bomb on her car at a traffic light.

The Times of India said police indicated that a group of Iranians wanted by the Delhi police were suspected of working with the IRGC to carry out attacks.

The recipients of the police requests – Georgia, Thailand and Malaysia – are pertinent: On the same day as the Delhi blast, a similar, magnet-equipped explosive device was found on a car belonging to a staff member at the Israeli Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. It was safely defused.

One day later, February 14, a group of Iranians were implicated in a series of explosions in the Thai capital, Bangkok. The first blast, at a rented property, was characterized by the Thai defense minister as an unintended detonation that occurred while “bad men were trying to assemble bombs.”

Soon afterwards, an Iranian who tried to flee the scene was apprehended after throwing several explosive devices at police – blowing off his own legs in the process – while a second man was arrested trying to board a flight out of the country.

Like the bombs used in Delhi and found in Tbilisi, two devices found by Thai police at the Iranians’ rented property were fitted with magnets, enabling them to be attached to vehicles.

Malaysia, meanwhile, is holding an Iranian named as Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, who flew in from Thailand on the day of the blasts, and was trying to fly out to Iran the following day. Accusing him of involvement in a plot to kill Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, Thailand formally applied for his extradition and a Malaysian court approved the application last month, pending a final decision by the government.

According to the Times of India account, Delhi police suspect that Sedaghatzadeh was the planner of all three attacks – in Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok.

At India’s request, Interpol has issued “red notices” for 31 year-old Sedaghatzadeh and three other Iranians in connection with the alleged plot – Afshar Irani, 39; Syed Ali Mahdiansadr, 51; and Mohammed Reza Abolghasemi, 47.

The four are wanted in connection with offenses of terrorism and “crimes involving the use of weapons/explosives,” according to Interpol.

A red notice is not an international arrest warrant, but informs Interpol’s 190 member countries that an arrest warrant has been issued by a judicial authority and seeks help in “the location, the apprehension and the provisional arrest of a wanted person.” It is Interpol’s equivalent of a most-wanted list, described by the agency as one of its “most powerful tools in tracking international fugitives.”

The Israeli government points to other attacks, or foiled potential attacks, this year which it attributes to the IRGC, and specifically its foreign operations arm, Qods Force, as well as its Hezbollah ally, including the July 18 bombing of a bus in Bulgaria. Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian were killed.

Earlier this month authorities in Cyprus arrested a man – an alleged Hezbollah member – suspected of plotting to bomb an aircraft or a bus carrying Israeli tourists.

Two Iranians are on trial in Kenya after they were arrested on June 19 and led security officials to a cache of explosive. Kenyan police said the pair were sent by the IRGC. Their lawyer denies this, saying they were tourists.

And last March, security officials in Azerbaijan said they had arrested 22 suspects who had been trained by the IRGC to carry out attacks against the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Baku.

U.S. authorities meanwhile accuse the Qods Force of involvement in an alleged plot, exposed last year, to carry out attacks on American soil, beginning with the assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

Qods Force head Ghasem Soleimani is one of five Iranians designated by the U.S. Treasury Department last October for their roles in the alleged affair.

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