Ever since a minor blast took place near the Israel embassy in Delhi on January 29, security has been strengthened outside and high-end CCTV cameras have been installed to monitor any “suspicious” activity. This year, around 20 men have been detained from outside the embassy premises after they were found to be “suspicious”, only to be let off only after being questioned by intelligence agencies, it is learnt.
A senior police officer told The Indian Express that ever since the blast, the presence of personnel of the diplomatic security wing has been increased in the area and position of PCR vans has also changed.. “The embassy has also increased the number of cameras on their premises. They are far more alert now and have, over the past year, detained people whom they found suspicious,” the officer said.
“After detaining a person, embassy security makes a call to the local police, which coordinates with the special cell and intelligence agencies. The person is then jointly questioned,” the officer said.
For instance, the officer said, a daily wage labourer working in Chankyapuri was detained earlier this year. “He was seen constantly looking at the embassy and the security personnel. He was detained but let off after questioning. Similarly, two people, who were protesting outside the office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) in Vasant Vihar a few months ago, were also detained after they asked security personnel at the embassy for water. They too were let off after being questioned,” the officer said.
The January 29 blast outside the embassy was carried out using an IED (improvised explosive device). The blast damaged a few cars parked, but no one was injured. After the explosion, police had recovered an unsigned letter from the spot that was addressed to the Israeli ambassador, and threatened that the explosion was just a trailer. It also referred to Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani and nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as “martyrs”, both Iranians were killed in two separate incidents last year.
During investigation, it was found that the crude bomb was planted next to a palm tree on the pavement opposite the embassy. The probe was subsequently transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from the Delhi Police special cell. “On June 15, the NIA had released visuals of two men, seeking the public’s help to identify and arrest the suspects. In the footage – found from one of the CCTV cameras installed outside the Israel embassy – the two men, wearing masks, can be seen roaming near the spot on the day of the explosion,” a senior police officer said.