Israel fears embassy attacks start of terror wave


Israel’s press on Tuesday said attacks on embassy staff in India and Georgia, which were blamed on Iran, were unlikely to spark a major response but raised fears they were the start of a wave of attacks.
Monday’s bomb attacks targeted an embassy car in New Delhi, leaving an Israeli woman diplomat critically injured, while the second incident targeted an embassy car in Tbilisi, but the bomb was discovered and defused.
Israel immediately blamed Iran and its Lebanese “proxy” Hezbollah, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to act “with a firm hand” to eradicate “international terror coming from Iran.”
But press commentators said Israel was unlikely to respond harshly, although the the attempted bombings were widely viewed as the start of a wave of attacks against Israeli targets overseas.
“The bombings sparked the usual tough rhetoric from Israeli officials … Nevertheless, a harsh Israeli response is seen as unlikely,” the left-leaning Haaretz daily said.
“Monday’s attacks were still limited enough that they didn’t violate the ‘rules of the game,'” the paper said, indicating that the bombings may have been an attempt to avenge the assassination of four Iranian scientists over the past two years, which were widely blamed on Israel.
Many papers suggested the attacks, which followed on from several failed attempts against Israeli targets in Azerbaijan and Thailand over the past few months, were only the start of a wave of attempts targeting Israelis overseas.
“Israel views both terror attacks yesterday as part of a surging wave of terror attacks,” wrote Alex Fishman, military commentator for the top-selling Yediot Aharonot.
“It is unlikely that the Iranian intelligence officer in Tehran who is responsible for organising this wave will win a promotion for his achievements so far,” he wrote.
“But the existence of this wave means that there are additional terror cells out there in other places on the planet, which are continuing to seek an Israeli target. The order given to make every effort to get Israel to stop killing Iranian scientists has already been issued, and these attempted terror attack will continue.”
The method used in Monday’s attacks resembled the tactics of assassins who have been targeting Iranian nuclear scientists, by attaching magnetic bombs to their vehicles.
The attacks also also fell between anniversaries of the deaths of two top militants from Hezbollah, the militant group which has close ties to Iran. The anniversary sparks annual travel warnings from Israel.