A day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah’s military commander, two seemingly coordinated attacks were launched on Monday against Israeli embassies overseas.
In the first attack, the wife of an Israeli diplomat was injured when a bomb exploded in her car in New Delhi, India. The woman succeeded in driving to the Israeli embassy where she was evacuated to a nearby hospital. She was reported to be in moderate condition. Israeli media reported that she had dropped off her children just moments before the explosion.
Local authorities were investigating the possibility that the bomb was planted under the car or alternatively that an assassin on a motorbike attached it to the vehicle as it was driving. Indian television cited witnesses who saw a motorbike following the car and possibly throwing an object toward it before the explosion.
In the second attack, an embassy staffer in Tbilisi, Georgia discovered a bomb underneath his car as he was driving to the embassy Monday morning. The staffer – a local Georgian national – heard something during the drive, pulled over to the side of the road, noticed the bomb and called local authorities. The bomb was dismantled before exploding.
Israeli security authorities raised the level of alert worldwide following the attacks. Security officials said that it was possible that the attacks were connected to the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in Damascus on February 12, 2008.
Diplomats worldwide have been ordered to check in and citizens currently overseas have been asked to do the same, reporting where they are and what their status is.
Security at embassies is being boosted by local police and military forces and Israel was considering the possibility of sending reinforcements from Israel. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) was holding security assessments at its headquarters in Israel.
The attacks were believed to be coordinated. Iran and Hezbollah have tried a number of times in recent years to avenge Mughniyeh’s assassination.
Israel raised its level of alert in early January surrounding delegations overseas out of concern that Iran and Hezbollah are trying to launch an attack ahead of the fourth anniversary of the assassination Mughniyeh. Attacks were recently thwarted in Azerbaijan and in Thailand.
Other attempts have included a plan to shoot down an Israeli airliner over Turkey with shoulder-to-air missiles and a plan to attack Israeli tourists in the Sinai.
Responding to news of the attack, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel knows exactly how to identify those responsible for the attacks.
Last month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned Hezbollah on Tuesday not to test Israel’s resolve by perpetrating a terror attack against an Israeli target overseas.
“We are witnessing efforts by Hezbollah and other hostile elements to perpetrate a brutal terror attack far from Israel,” Gantz said at the time.”I recommend to everyone not to test our resolve.”
JPost.com staff, Gil Hoffman and Reuters contributed to this report.