Exclusive: Iranian Payback? Hits on Israelis Mimic Attacks on Iran Scientists

Motorcycle bomb used in India, Israel blames Iran.

February 13, 2012, 9:46 AM

Feb. 13, 2012 — -- Has Iran decided to turn Israeli tactics against Israel?

In a strike virtually identical to attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists, U.S. sources say a passing motorcyclist attached what appeared to be a shaped charge to an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi, India. The driver and the wife of Israel's deputy defense ministry representative to India were wounded, as were two people in a nearby car.

Television footage showed flames pouring from a minivan with its back door blown out. The attack took place at 4 p.m. on Race Track Road, close to the Israeli Embassy.

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A single source confirms that a failed attack against an Israeli car in Tblisi, Georgia used a similar method, but the bomb did not detonate. A worker at the embassy alerted local police after seeing a black plastic bag attached to the bottom of the Israeli envoy's car. The bag held a hand grenade.

No attackers have been identified in either incident. An unconfirmed report says that a third Israeli facility in Amsterdam may also have been targeted.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly pointed the finger at Iran for the twin attacks in Georgia and India. Both attacks come one day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of a top Hezbollah leader, Imad Mughniyah.

Netanyahu also said that Israel had stopped attacks in other countries, including Thailand and Azerbaijan, in recent months. "In all those cases, the elements behind those attacks were Iran and its protege," said Netanyahu."

Iranian state media quoted an Foreign Ministry spokesman saying that Netanyahu's accusation was "within the Zionist regime's psychological war against Iran."

"The Zionist regime, due to repeated crimes against humanity, is the main party accused of terrorist activities," he said.

Motorcyclists with 'Sticky' Bombs

Motorcyclists with "sticky bombs" have been blamed in several mysterious bombings of Iranian nuclear scientists. The Iranian government has blamed Israel, the U.S. and the U.K. for the deaths. Both The U.S. and the U.K. have denied any involvement.

In January, Mostafa Roshan, a director of Iran's major uranium enrichment facility, became the fifth scientist or official involved in the program killed in the past two years. He was killed by a sticky bomb placed on his car. Iran had threatened to strike back for the deaths.

Sources told ABC News Global Affairs Anchor Christiane Amanpour that it was likely Iran would use this type of "asymmetrical" warfare, and include U.S. global targets as well, if its nuclear facilities are attacked.

Sources also said Israel may be using the military wing of the Iranian exile group People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is on the U.S. terror list, to carry out assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. MEK's political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is currently lobbying on Capitol Hill to have the group removed from the terror list.

In New York, police have stepped up security at the Israeli consulate, at residences and on consulate vehicles. "The NYPD adjusts its counterterrorism posture to include information about events overseas," said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. "That's why the public may have noticed increased NYPD presence in recent weeks at Israeli government facilities and synagogues, although there has been no specific threat in New York."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she condemned the bombing and the attempted bombing "in the strongest possible terms. ... The scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community."

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