Iran terror cell could have been in India for 6 months | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Iran terror cell could have been in India for 6 months

delhi Updated: Feb 17, 2012 01:38 IST
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri


Given the complexity of Monday's terrorist attack on an Israeli embassy staffer, Iran would have had some terror infrastructure in India which would probably have been in the country for the past six months, says Ely Karmon of the Israeli-based International Institute for Counterterrorism.

Karmon, who has extensively studied Tehran's shadowy war on Israel, has no doubts of Iran's complicity in the New Delhi attack.

"Iran has already threatened the past three to four months that it will attack Israeli targets, preferably high level military or political targets," he said.

He pointed to a series of abortive attacks on Israeli embassies across the world recently, including earlier ones in Japan and the Philippines, and even earlier waves of attempts going back to the 1980s.

Every time arrests were made in such attacks, Iran's role was revealed in subsequent interrogations.

The plot in Azerbaijan led to the arrest of two Lebanese Hizbullah members and four local Azeris. "Two Iranian Revolutionary Guard members who were in charge were able to flee the country."

Such attacks are normally carried out by Al Quds, the commando wing of the Guards. Based on what is known of past Iranian terror cells, Tehran often recruits local Sunni and Shia Muslims for its activities. But the operational core is trusted only to Shias, either Lebanese or Persian.

"In West Africa and South America, Iran's terror infrastructure is based on local communities of Shia Lebanese," he said. Karmon says that the Indian attack had two new characteristics.

One was the use of the magnetic bomb which has now turned up in Thailand and may have been used in Georgia, he noted. Two, what was curious was Iran's decision to carry out an attack on Indian soil.

Karmon theorised Tehran may have felt India was too dependent on its oil to respond. Iran may have been displeased by India's vote at the United Nations on Syria. "India might have just been seen as an easy target. Your authorities are not focussed on Hizbullah or Iran. Motorcyclists are hard to control in a large populated city."

But the terrorism expert said the attack was relatively primitive, indicating a certain haste and disorganisation.