Several Iranian agents who scouted out the Israeli, American, and Emirati embassies in an unnamed East African country in preparation for a potential attack have been arrested, according to a Monday Israeli TV report.
The agents were sent by Iran to gather intelligence on the sites for a terror attack, Kan News reported, citing Western intelligence sources.
Some held dual European and Iranian citizenship, and some were arrested in the East African country, while others were apprehended in different countries. The attack was thwarted last month, according to the report.
The report said Iran intended to target one of the missions in retaliation for the killing of its top general Qassem Soleimani by the US last year and of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November. Iran blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s killing and swore revenge.
On Friday, a blast rocked the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India. The explosion damaged cars but did not cause injuries.
Israeli authorities are treating the explosion as a suspected terror attack aimed at the embassy, and have stepped up security precautions at missions around the world.
Israeli missions had already been on alert in the wake of Fakhrizadeh’s assassination.
A handwritten note found at the scene of the bombing claimed responsibility for a previously unknown group identifying itself as “India Hezbollah.” It cited the killings Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh, according to Indian media reports on Saturday.
Unconfirmed Indian media reports Saturday claimed police had detained and questioned some Iranian nationals in New Delhi.
A police statement described the Friday explosion as caused by a “very low-intensity improvised device” that blew out the windows on three nearby cars and said a preliminary investigation “suggests a mischievous attempt to create a sensation.”
In 2012, the wife of Israel’s defense attaché to India was moderately injured after a motorcyclist attached a bomb to her car near Israel’s New Delhi embassy. Iran was suspected in the attack.
It was part of a series of attempted attacks against Israeli targets around the world attributed to Iran. The same day as the 2012 New Delhi blast, a bomb was discovered on an Israeli diplomat’s car in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The next day, three Iranians accidentally blew up their house in Thailand.
There was speculation that those incidents were in response to Israel’s alleged assassinations of multiple Iranian nuclear scientists as Jerusalem fought to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
In September, the Politico news site reported that Iran was plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa for the killing of Soleimani. Iran dismissed the allegation.
Iran already retaliated for Soleimani’s killing in January, firing missiles at a US base in Iraq, to which the US did not respond.