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Israel Blames Iran For Twin Attacks On Diplomats

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time in pointing the finger at Iran for the explosion of a diplomat's vehicle in India and an alleged attempted car bombing in Georgia.

In the Indian capital, New Delhi, a passing motorcyclist allegedly pulled up alongside the vehicle of the diplomat, described by The Hindustan Times as the Israeli Embassy's administrative attache. The attacker may have "placed 'something' in the rear of the car when it stopped at a traffic signal," the Indian newspaper reported. Meanwhile, a car bomb in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, was defused, officials said.

The explosion in India injured four people, including the car's driver and the diplomat's wife, according to The New York Times. But The Hindustan Times said there were conflicting reports from witnesses, some of whom indicated the vehicle's natural gas cylinder may have caused the blast.

Israel's prime minister, however, expressed certainty that the explosion in New Delhi, as well as the defused car bomb in Georgia, were the work of Iran and its proxies.

"Today we witnessed two attempts of terrorism against innocent civilians," Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud Party. "Iran is behind these attacks and it is the largest terror exporter in the world."

He said similar attempted attacks in Azerbaijan and Thailand had been thwarted in recent weeks and that: "In all those cases, the elements behind these attacks were Iran and its protege, Hezbollah."

Netanyahu vowed to take "a strong hand against international terror."

Update at 12:45 EST:

NPR's Lind Gradstein reports from Jerusalem:

Israeli security officials said the attacks could also be connected to the anniversary of the assassination of a senior Hezbollah official, Imad Mughniye, four years ago. Israel was widely believed to be behind that attack.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.