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India links Delhi terror attack on Israeli embassy to botched Thai bombing

Published: March 17, 2012 | 9:25 am
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Delhi police say Iranian suspect in India attack had been in contact with Iranian man who was arrested in Malaysia and accused of involvement in Bangkok blast.

Indian police said Friday that a bomb attack that wounded an Israeli diplomat’s wife in New Delhi last month is connected to a suspected plot to attack Israeli targets in Bangkok that was blamed on a group of Iranian men.

Israel has accused Iran of orchestrating those plots as well as a failed bombing in the former Soviet republic of Georgia that also targeted an Israeli diplomat. Iran has denied any involvement.

Indian authorities had declined to implicate Iran in the Feb. 13 blast here that wounded the diplomat’s wife and three others with a bomb attached to her car by a magnet. However, the investigation is increasingly centering on Iranians and those with ties to Iran.

Last week, police arrested an Indian freelance journalist who reportedly worked for Iranian news organizations to investigate possible links to the bombing. Earlier this week, they issued arrest warrants for three Iranian men who had left the country.

Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta told reporters Friday that one of those three men, Housan Afshar, had been in contact with Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, who was arrested in Malaysia and accused of involvement in the Bangkok blast.

India was asking Interpol for assistance in finding and extraditing the men, according to foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

“We have informed the Iranian ambassador of these developments so as to seek the cooperation of the Iranian authorities in bringing those involved in this dastardly attack to justice,” he said in a statement.

Police accused Sedaghatzadeh of being the operational head of the module that was planning the Bangkok attacks and said his arrest in Malaysia led them to Afshar. Gupta said police found that Afshar and the Indian journalist, Syed Mohammed Kazmi, had been in telephone contact.

Police said the Iranians had performed reconnaissance at the Israeli Embassy last May before returning to Delhi in January and February to plan the attack.

Two of the three accused left India before the attack and the third left shortly after, police said.

Gupta said Kazmi was deeply involved in the reconnaissance.

“He has been arrested as a facilitator and for being a part of the conspiracy. His questioning brought to light that he has been in contact with persons of Iranian origin involved in the attack for some time,” Gupta told reporters.

He said Kazmi told police he went to Iran twice last year, promised to provide assistance to the attackers in India and was paid $5,500. In addition to helping with surveillance of the embassy, Kazmi booked a plane ticket for one of the Iranian suspects to leave the country, Gupta said.

The Associated Press

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