No clue yet on Iranian outfit

Sleuths seek samples of magnetic bombs used in Tbilisi and Bangkok

No clue yet on Iranian outfit

Claiming that it would be “premature” to conclude that an Iranian group was behind the attack on an Israeli embassy vehicle here on Monday, Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta said here on Tuesday that investigators have sought information and samples of similar explosive devices used in strikes in Georgia and Thailand.

Speaking at a press conference, Gupta said that sleuths were focusing on Iranians living in Delhi. Besides, other police and intelligence sources said that passenger manifests of some foreign airlines were also being checked to unearth clues to the possible entry of men of Iranian origin into the country.

While the police said that the magnetic bomb was the first of its kind to be used in any terrorist operation in India, thereby suggesting that it could be the handiwork of some foreign outfit, diplomatic sources said Indian authorities might like to focus their investigations on “local operatives”. These insisted that there was “lack of professionalism in the manner in which the operation was carried out.”

Describing Monday’s attack as a terrorist strike, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said investigators believe that a “very well-trained person planted the device” and that the “target was the diplomat’s office and so we have to assume it was a terror attack.” The minister, however, said “at this moment, we are not pointing a finger at any group.”

Intelligence analysts said that the attack, which could be part of a covert operation, appeared to be a replication of strikes that a dissident Iranian group called the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) undertook to kill Iranian nuclear scientists, including Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, the deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran last month.

Two motorcyle-borne men had attached a magnetic bomb on Ahmadi-Roshan’s car which exploded seconds later. The MEK is suspected to be involved in similar attacks since 2007. Gupta said that Israeli authorities have been requested to share information and samples of the explosive devices used in Tbilisi (Georgian capital) and Bangkok where too investigators probed car explosions in which suspected magnetic bombs were used. A vehicle on which a magnetic bomb was found attached to was detected and defused in Tbilisi Monday.

Gupta said that the magnetic bomb used in Monday’s attack “was the size of a palmtop, not bigger than a brick” and that isuch a device has not been used before in terror attacks in India. But the police commissioner added that the report of the Central Forensics Science Laboratory would would provide vital information on the nature of the explosive and the mechanism used to set it off.

Ruling out the involvement of Indian terrorist outfits, Gupta said police teams were checking on and verifying the antecedants of Iranians living in some parts of Delhi, including Paharganj.

The commissioner said that the police is also on the lookout for a red motorcycle that the hitman used.

Closed-circuit television footages did not provide much help to the police. On the basis of the footages, the police detained five persons, but let them off when nothing related to the attack emerged following their questioning. “The bomb would have exploded in three to five seconds after it was stuck on the vehicle. The attacker then hit a boulevard, moved to the other lane, apparently took a left turn and fled,” Gupta said, adding that the motorcyclist was very well trained.

The police have also sought CCTV footage of the last seven days from all private and government buildings, including the Israeli embassy and the Canadian high commission, to examine the movement of suspicious persons, if any.

The lone eyewitness, Gopal Krishnan, who was driving a Ford Ikon car and was just behind the Innova, told Deccan Herald that he has “told everything I knew to the police. They are in contact and have said that they would seek my help if any clue arises in connection with the biker involved in the blast.”

What is magnetic bomb?

The magnetic bomb has its origin in the Second World War, reports DHNS from New Delhi.
Designed to make it stick to tanks, a hand-held explosive device containing a strong adhesive was extensively used by the British soldiers in World War II as an ad hoc solution to the lack of sufficient anti-tank guns in the aftermath of the Dunkirk evacuation.
Tough to spot and easy to adhere, a small magnet bomb is a mixture of C4, a common variety of plastic explosive, combined with an accelerant and then packed with shrapnel or any other metal.

A detonator is always used to trigger the magnetic bomb. Roughly the size of a brick or palm, the bomb made up of explosives will explode in five seconds after getting attached to a car or a truck.

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