- - Monday, February 13, 2012

NEW DELHI — Israel blamed Iran Monday for a pair of car-bomb attacks on Israeli diplomatic vehicles in India and Georgia that bore striking similarities to lethal assaults on Iranian nuclear scientists over the past two years.

The attacks come amid already heightened tensions between archenemies Israel and Iran, whose leaders have accused the Jewish state of killing Iran’s nuclear scientists to disrupt its atomic research.

Israeli leaders reportedly have been mulling a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program, which they say is geared toward building an atomic weapon. Iran has denied the allegations, saying its nuclear program has only peaceful aims.

The U.S. and other Western nations have urged Israel to give sanctions against Iran’s oil sector enough time to change Iranian leaders’ behavior.

In New Delhi, four people were injured when a magnetic bomb attached to an Israeli Embassy vehicle exploded. Meanwhile, Georgian police defused a similar device on a diplomatic car in Tbilisi.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.

“Iran is behind the attacks on Israeli embassies, it is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Twitter feed.

Iran denied the charge. “This accusation is within the Zionist regime’s psychological war against Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency. “The Zionist regime, due to repeated crimes against humanity, is the main party accused of terrorist activities.”

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the attacks, saying “the scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community.”

Mrs. Clinton did not name any suspects in the attacks but said the U.S. stands “ready to assist with any investigation of these cowardly actions.”

New Delhi police identified Israeli Embassy staffer Tal Yeshova, 42, as being seriously wounded in the 3 p.m. car-bomb attack, which occurred as she was on her way to pick up her children from school.

Others wounded in the attack were identified as Manoj Sharma, the driver of the embassy car, and Arun Sharma and Manjeet Singh, who were in another car and sustained minor injuries.

The car exploded not far from the Israeli Embassy near a gasoline pump on Aurangzeb Road, which is near 7 Race Course Road, the address of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence.

New Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta told reporters that a passing motorcyclist likely placed the magnetic bomb on the car.

Last month, Iran blamed the U.S. and Israel for the death of a nuclear scientist who was killed by a magnetic car bomb in Tehran - the fourth assassination of an Iranian atomic researcher in two years.

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, was a supervisor at a uranium enrichment facility in Nantaz.

Guy Taylor in Washington contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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