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Iran's Quds force played role in blast near Israeli embassy in New Delhi, probe claims

The January explosion was set by a remote-controlled device triggered by a local Shia group working with Iran, India’s central counterterrorism agencies concluded
Police close off a street after an explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on 29 January (AFP/File photo)

India's central counterterrorism agencies have concluded that the Iranian Quds force, with the help of a local Shia group, was behind a January blast outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, the Hindustan Times reported

The investigation found that the local group planted a low-intensity explosive device outside the embassy in coordination with Iranian authorities, the newspaper reported on Monday. 

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Investigators found that "deliberate false-flag cyber markers" pointing to the Islamic State (IS) group had been placed at the scene of the explosion, which damaged some property but caused no casualties. 

"That the bomb was not of high intensity, with no human targets in mind, was perhaps because the Iranians did not want to run foul of a friendly nation like India. But the message was clear and the threat is real," an anonymous counterterror expert who is tracking developments told the Hindustan Times. 

Investigators also said that the device used in the explosion was not as crude as it had appeared to be at the time of the blast. Instead, it was a remote-controlled device triggered by a bomber using line-of-sight, the newspaper reported.

'India Hizbollah'?

The name of the Indian group that allegedly assisted in the 29 January explosion was not provided by the newspaper. India's Ministry of External Affairs did not respond to Middle East Eye's request for comment at the time of this article's publication. 

Indian media had previously reported that Jaish ul-Hind, which India Today dubbed "an unknown and unheard [of] organisation", had claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Days after the explosion, death threat addressed to Israel's ambassador, warning he was constantly being watched and could be attacked at any time, was found near the scene of a blast.

The handwritten note, in English, was addressed to Israel's ambassador, Ron Malka, and claimed to be from the "India Hizbollah", a group that was not previously known.

The note warned that the attack was just a preview and that the group could kill Malka "anytime anywhere". 

At the time, Israeli authorities said they were treating the explosion as a suspected terror attack and were increasing security precautions at missions around the world.

Israel's Channel 13 reported that the investigation was focusing on Indian students that had studied in Iran.

The results of the investigation come during heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. Last week, Israel warned that it was updating its contingency plans against a nuclear Iran, just as the United States seeks to negotiate a new nuclear deal with the country. 

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