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New Delhi: The UPA Government is concerned over the possibility of the covert Israel- Iran conflict spilling over in the national capital, with Israel repeatedly pointing an accusing finger at Iran for the bombing of its embassy car near Prime Minister's residence on Monday, but without any evidence to back its claim.
Though India called it a " terror attack," both Home Minister P Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna did not echo the Israeli accusations against Iran. Chidambaram Chidambaram merely said that the motorcyclist who planted the sophisticated magnetic explosive device on the Israeli car was "very well trained.'' All the pieces of the Israeli jigsaw do not seem to fit. Eyewitness Manjeet Singh, who was trailing the Israeli embassy's Innova car, has told the police that he did not see any motorcyclist sticking the reported magnetic bomb to the car. Security agencies are now probing the angle whether the attack was stage- managed by Israelis to ratchet up tensions with Iran. They are also
looking at the possibility of the bomb being activated by a remote- controlled device.
Incidentally, the Israelis are not giving Indians any access to Tal ehoshua Koren, wife of the Israeli military attaché, who was wounded in the explosion.
In fact, on Tuesday the buzz was that she might be flown to Jerusalem as soon as her condition stabilises. Realizing that she might slip out of their hands, the security agencies have communicated to the Israeli authorities through the MEA that she will not be allowed to leave Delhi until her testimony is recorded. They want her to cooperate in the probe and stay put in the Capital for the time being.
The security agencies' inquiries at the private Primus Hospital, too, have been stonewalled. The hospital claims to have conducted surgeries on the military attaché's wife to remove shrapnel that pierced her in the explosion, but it is not providing any exact details, nor allowing the Indian sleuths to speak to her on the plea that she is still in the intensive care unit.
She was not as badly injured as the Primus doctors are claiming, sources said.
Every citizen in Israel has to compulsorily undergo army training and the calmness shown by Koren after the blast reinforces suspicion that a trained militia person could be part of the staged- managed bombing job. Koren was conscious and talking coherently with people who extricated her from the burning car, and even directed them to take her to the embassy and not to a hospital. The embassy staff, too, did not allow the police to take her to a government hospital, which raises suspicion, sources in the investigation team said. Also, the incident happened before she picked up her children from school.
The Indian security agencies have also sought information about the defused bomb in an Israeli embassy car in Georgia and the latest blasts in Bangkok to ascertain if there was any link, since media reports have suggested that the same kind of magnetic bombs were used there.
INVESTIGATORS ARRIVE: Israel, meanwhile, flew in its top detectives to join the investigations into the abortive attempt to blow up the car. Giving the first official sequence of the incident after getting a briefing from the police commissioner, Chidambaram said the device exploded within seconds. The biker took advantage of the red light at the crossing to come from behind to stick the sophisticated device on the trunk side of the rear door.
He said the CCTV cameras in the area were screened, but there was " no clear image of the motorcycle rider or the number plate." The Police Commissioner, in turn, said the bomb appears to be most sophisticated and could not have been assembled in India.
An intelligence alert that Israel may hit back has led to heightened security alert at the Iranian embassy here, even as Israeli sleuths who arrived from Tel- Aviv claimed four suspects involved in the Monday attack were holed up in the embassy.