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Israel blames Iran, Hezbollah for embassy attacks

(Xinhuanet.com)

10:26, February 14, 2012

JERUSALEM, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday laid direct blame for two attacks against Israeli embassies in India and Georgia on Iran and Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah.

"In the last few months, we have been witnessing to several attempts to harm Israelis and Jews in a number of countries: in Azerbaijan, in Thailand, and elsewhere... In all of the cases, the entities behind the attacks were Iran and its collaborator, Hezbollah," Netanyahu said at a meeting of the Knesset (parliament) ruling Likud faction Monday afternoon, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.

Four people, including an Israeli woman, were injured Monday when an Israeli diplomat's car was hit by a bomb near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India.

Also on Monday, a staff member of the Israeli embassy in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi discovered a bomb attached to his car when he was heading for home from the embassy. The bomb was later defused by the Georgian police.

"This just means that the State of Israel and its citizens face a daily threat of terror, both physical and diplomatic. We know exactly who's responsible for the attack and who planned it, and we're not going to take it lying down," Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted by the Ha'aretz daily as saying after Monday's attacks.

Israel "will fight terror, both within its borders, and beyond them," the foreign minister vowed.

The Israeli embassies and consulates worldwide raised alert after the incidents.

"In all of the cases, we were able to foil the attempts, with the aid of local security forces," said Netanyahu.

Monday's attacks came one day after the fourth anniversary of a car bombing in the Syrian capital of Damascus that killed Hezbollah's military chief Imad Mughniyah.

Hezbollah blamed the killing of Mughniyah on Israel, but Israel has categorically denied any involvement in the assassination.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz convened a meeting of the army's senior staff on Monday in the wake of the attacks, and said that "We're not ruling out attacks against Hezbollah targets," according to Army radio.

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