A senior Iranian diplomat in Uruguay was suspected of involvement in planting a small bomb outside the Israeli Embassy in Montevideo several weeks ago, and was subsequently expelled, Haaretz reported Friday, citing sources in Jerusalem.
On January 8, an improvised explosive device was discovered outside the Israeli Embassy. At the time, officials insisted the device was a fake, but according to Haaretz, the makeshift bomb partially detonated and was later neutralized by police. There were no injuries in the attack.
The Uruguay intelligence services linked the bombing to an official in the Iranian Embassy, and two weeks ago, following consultations with Tehran, the envoy left the country.
An official in Jerusalem told the Hebrew daily that Israel was updated on the Iranian diplomat’s expulsion, but said Uruguay sought to keep the matter under wraps.
In December 2014, Uruguay elected a president who has twice traveled to Israel and maintains an open dialogue with his country’s Jewish community.
Dr. Tabare Vazquez, 74, was elected president for the second time. During his first administration, 2005 to 2010, he made an official three-day visit as a guest of then-president Shimon Peres, during which he visited the Weizmann Institute, the Schneider Children’s Hospital and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Vazquez, an oncologist, also traveled to Israel in 1982, representing Uruguay in an international seminar about cancer research.
The January 8 attack came several weeks before an alleged Israeli airstrike on the Syrian Golan Heights. Six Hezbollah members, including a top commander, and one Iranian general were confirmed killed in the strike, which was followed by threats of severe retaliation from Hezbollah and Tehran. Two IDF soldiers were killed on January 28 in a retaliatory attack by Hezbollah, but Iranian leaders have hinted Tehran may still attack Israel over the general’s death.
AFP contributed to this report.