Monday, April 19, 2021

Mossad team joins NIA in embassy blast probe

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A team from Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, on Wednesday met the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to exchange leads gathered so far in the bomb blast outside former’s embassy in New Delhi on January 29, which, according to initial investigation, points to an Iranian hand, people familiar with the development said.

A Mossad team specially flew in from Tel Aviv earlier this week to assist Indian agencies in the probe. Sleuths from both countries are coordinating to identify Iranian suspects who could be behind the attack as well as technical data being gathered from several social media accounts. Israel’s Ambassador to India, Dr Ron Malka said after the blast that his country would cooperate with India to investigate the case.

Investigations have revealed that the low intensity blast neat Israeli Embassy and Jindal House on Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road has no connection with a suspicious package found outside the Israeli embassy in Paris on the same day.

Subsequently, forensic experts have ruled out any traces of PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) in the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which was fitted in a beverage can and attached to a tiny timer before it was placed near a palm tree on the pavement at Abdul Kalam Road. “Experts have said that the PETN, even in small amount, would have caused much bigger impact at the blast site,” said an officer involved in the investigations, requesting anonymity.

Unfortunately for agencies, there is no eyewitness who saw anyone placing the IED near the pavement and the CCTV cameras on the stretch have not provided any leads.

In its First Information Report (FIR), reviewed by HT, NIA has said “the blast caused a crater near the palm tree”.

According to the FIR : “Information was received at 5.20 pm in the office of Special Cell (Delhi Police) that a blast has occurred nearby. On visit of Special Cell Inspector, a post blast crime scene was found near Jindal House, Bungalow Number 5, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road. A crater due to IED blast was found near the palm tree on the pavement. Due to the impact of the explosion, windows of three cars (Hyundai Creta, Ford Ecosport and Maruti WagonR), which were parked on the opposite side of the road, were found shattered.”

It added : “Several IED components were found scattered nearby the explosion spot. An envelope folded inside a closed poly pack was also found at the spot”.

HT has previously reported that a letter addressed to Malka by the perpetrators of the attack was found at the spot.

The government termed the blast a terrorist act and handed over the probe to NIA due to its “international implications”.

A second officer familiar with the matter said there is strong reason to suspect an Iranian involvement.“29th anniversary of India-Israel’s diplomatic relation; letter left at the site seeking to avenge the killings Iran Quds Commander Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mehdhi Al Muhandis, who were killed in a US drone attack in January 2020, and Iranian nuclear physicist Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who died in a car bomb attack in Iran in November 2020; and the bitter relationship between Iran and Israel known bitter relations, “ this person added.

The Iranian embassy could not be contacted for a comment despite repeated attempts.

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