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Attacks on Israeli diplomats signal growing level of sophistication

A worker sweeps debris as Indian police officers gather around car belonging to the Israel Embassy, that was damaged in an explosion in New Delhi, India, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012.

Kevin Frayer/AP/Kevin Frayer/AP

From mob violence in Egypt to a convoy bombing in Jordan, tensions in the Israeli diplomatic community have been ratcheted up by a series of dangerous incidents.

But emerging accounts of Monday's attack in India, which left at least four people wounded, appear to indicate a greater level of targeting and sophistication.

According to Asia News International, the Delhi police commissioner said that an "eyewitness saw a single motorcyclist stick an object on the car" before the blast.

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An Indian journalist who said he happened to be in the area, reportedthat the force of the explosion hurled one passenger "to the other side" of the road.

The accounts of a motorcycle-riding attacker, if verified, closely match the way in which an Iranian scientist was recently killed, part of an assassination campaign that Tehran blames on Israel.

Also Monday, an attempted bombing was thwarted in Tbilisi, where an Israeli embassy official spotted an explosive attached to his vehicle.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to point the finger at Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. He said, without offering details, that other recent attacks had been thwarted in Thailand, Azerbaijan and other places.

"In all those cases, the elements behind these attacks were Iran and its protegé Hezbollah," he said, according to The Associated Press.

Security at Israeli diplomatic missions had reportedly been raised because of fears of Iranian retaliation. Monday's bombing also falls around the anniversaries of the assassinations of two Hezbollah leaders. Imad Mughniyeh, a commander, was killed in 2008 and secretary general Abbas Musawi was killed in 1992.

Israelis overseas have faced other threats, including the rapid developments of last year's Arab Spring that raised tensions in a number of countries.

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Staff at the Israeli embassy in Cairo had to be rescued last fall by Egyptian commandos after a mob stormed the building. According to reports at the time, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak phoned his U.S. counterpart for assistance and President Barack Obama became personally involved to ensure the staff weren't hurt.

In 2010, a roadside bomb exploded as an Israeli diplomatic convoy was passing in Jordan. No one was hurt and no one claimed responsibility. And in 1992, a bombing attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires left 29 dead.

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About the Author

Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More

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