India probing Iran's Quds Force link to attack on Israelis

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Iran's secretive Quds Force or West Asian terror groups may have been behind the terror bombing on an Israeli embassy car last month, investigators said Thursday, a day after an Indian freelance journalist was arrested for his alleged link to the attack.

The arrested journalist, Sayed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, has allegedly confessed providing logistical support to the attackers - one of whom is said to have fled to Iran a day after the Feb 13 bombing that injured four people, including the wife of an Israeli diplomat.

Officials privy to the interrogation of 52-year-old of Kazmi said he might not know the entire plot but there are indications that either the Quds Force or the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah may have schemed the bombing.

"We are investigating Quds Force role as it is said to be behind the attacks on Israeli nationals in Georgia and Bangkok last month. Besides, an Iran-based terror group and Hezbollah are also under suspicion," an official told IANS.

However, Delhi Police refrained from naming any country suspected to be behind the attack.

Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta said the arrest of two or three more suspects was likely in the coming days. He refused to give details other than that police had seized a mobile phone and a laptop from Kazmi's possession.

But a police official, refusing to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, told IANS that Kazmi's interrogation has revealed his links with extremist groups in the West Asian region.

Kazmi has told his interrogators that the blast plan was prepared last year, said the official.

The journalist has allegedly told them that two or three bombers came to the capital 15 days before the attack.

They stayed in a Paharganj hotel, where they prepared the magnetic bomb which one of them attached to the embassy car.

A two-wheeler with Haryana registration number was recovered from Kazmi's house and it is suspected that this was used for reconnaissance of the Israeli mission around four days before the attack.

"The main bomber had left it at Kazmi's house Feb 14 before fleeing to Iran," said the official.

Police have also recovered the black Hero Honda Passion motorcycle used in the attack. The motorbike was rented from Karol Bagh on the day of the blast.

Kazmi, a post-graduate in Persian language from Delhi University, was arrested Tuesday. He was later remanded to 20-day police custody by a Delhi court Wednesday.

Originally from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, he has been residing in south Delhi's B.K. Dutt colony near Jor Bagh area for several years.

Kazmi has been working as a freelance journalist and has also reported for a Tehran-based radio.

He is a Press Information Bureau (PIB) accredited journalist and has also worked with Iran-based Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

He was also a contractual Urdu newsreader with state-run Doordarshan.