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Explosion outside Israeli embassy heightens New Delhi nerves

Explosion outside Israeli embassy heightens New Delhi nerves

Policemen stand guard near the Israeli Embassy after a blast in the area in New Delhi, India, Jan 29, 2021. (Photo: AP/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI: A small bomb exploded outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on Friday (Jan 29) as it marked the anniversary of setting up diplomatic relations with India.

No injuries were reported but an Israeli official told AFP the incident was being viewed as terrorism.

The windows on three nearby cars were blown out by what police called "a very low intensity improvised device".

"Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation," a police statement added.

However an Israeli official in Jerusalem, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: "We consider this as a terror attack."

With the Indian capital already on heightened alert because of farmers' protests, the district around the embassy was sealed off and flooded with police, paramilitaries, bomb disposal experts and anti-terrorism specialists.

According to media reports, the device, which went off at about 5.05pm local time, could have been left in a flower pot on the pavement close to the embassy.

The Israeli foreign ministry confirmed that there were no casualties and that no damage was done to the embassy.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi had asked for "all necessary security measures" to be taken, said a statement.

The incident came on the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.

The countries have since become close, and India is now one of the biggest buyers of Israeli defence equipment.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in 2017, and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu made a high-profile return visit a year later.

In February 2012 a bomb attack on an Israeli diplomatic car in Delhi injured the defence attache, an embassy staffer and two other people. Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack.

The latest incident took place close to where Modi and other government and military leaders were attending an army parade.

Delhi has been on major alert this week after farmers' protests against government agriculture reforms deteriorated into serious unrest on Tuesday.

Source: AFP/zl


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