An explosive device exploded Friday evening near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India, sparking fears in the city’s VIP Zone, according to multiple reports.
There were no injuries or fatalities from the blast, according to Delhi Police. The blast occurred at 5:05 p.m. about 150 meters away from the Israeli embassy, India Today reported. Some vehicles sustained damage in the explosion that was reportedly felt within a 20-25 meter radius. (RELATED: Farmers Drive 10,000 Tractors Through Police Barricades, Tear Gas To Protest Indian Agriculture Laws)
Delhi: A low-intensity explosion occurred near Israel Embassy yesterday. Samples collected from the spot by a crime investigation team this morning. Investigation is underway.— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2021
(Pics source: Delhi Police) pic.twitter.com/qKHMrPRtKG
Just 1.4 kilometers away from the site, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other senior officials were attending the Beating Retreat ceremony that follows the country’s Republic Day parade, according to NDTV.
An organization called Jaish-Ul-Hind claimed responsibility for the attack in a Telegram chat, Business Today reported.
“By the grace and help of Almighty Allah, soldiers of Jaish-Ul-Hind were able to infiltrate a high security area in Delhi and carry out an IED attack. This Allah willing is beginning of a series of attacks which would target major Indian cities and pay back in kind to the atrocities committed by the Indian state. Wait and we are waiting too,” the organization said, according to Business Today.
According to Indian media, an unknown group calling itself ‘Jaish Ul-Hind’ has claimed responsibility for the IED attack near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. However, the purported Telegram message doesn’t mention the embassy nor does the channel or user seem to exist. pic.twitter.com/gqzeObHXkL— Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) January 30, 2021
A one-and-a-half page letter discovered near the bomb site called the late Iranian IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and the late Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh martyrs, promising Israel that the attack was just a “trailer” of what was to come, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The bomb might have been wrapped in a plastic bag before being thrown towards a nearby sidewalk from a moving car or motorbike, a preliminary investigation suggests, Times Of India reported. The IED then fell on the grass and detonated.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with his Indian counterpart, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who guaranteed Ashkenazi the “fullest protection for the embassy and Israeli diplomats, adding that “no effort will be spared to find the culprits.”
Spoke just now to Israeli FM @Gabi_Ashkenazi about the explosion outside the Israeli Embassy. We take this very seriously. Assured him of the fullest protection for the Embassy and Israeli diplomats. Matter is under investigation and no effort will be spared to find the culprits.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) January 29, 2021
The Delhi Police has asked the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to provide information on Iranian visitors to Delhi in the last few weeks to find the people behind the attack, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation,” a Delhi police spokesperson said in a statement, according to the BBC.
Security agencies are on high alert, and the blast “could be a prelude to a big conspiracy,” officials say, NDTV reported.
Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka said that the embassy in New Delhi had been on high alert because of the “threats” it had been preparing for, even before the incident, reported Times Of Israel.
A similar attack took place on February 13, 2012, when the wife of an Israeli diplomat was targeted in New Delhi by a man with an explosive on her way to pick up her children from school. Four Iranian suspects India issued warrants against fled the country after the incident. Indian agencies found a connection between that incident and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Times of India.