A minor blast took place on Friday evening near the Israel embassy at Central Delhi’s APJ Abdul Kalam Road, ANI reported. A low-intensity improvised explosive device detonated at 5.05 pm, according to the Delhi Police. However, no injuries or damage to personal properties were reported, except shattered windscreens of cars parked nearby.
Delhi Police Additional Public Relations Officer Anil Mittal said that initial impressions indicate that the blast could be a mischievous attempt to create a sensation, reported PTI.
The Central Industrial Security Force said that an alert has been issued at all airports, government buildings and important infrastructure in Delhi in view of the blast. The paramilitary force has directed its personnel to enhance vigil at the 63 civil airports, the Delhi Metro and vital installations in the nuclear and aerospace domain.
Officials of the police and fire brigade reached the spot and further investigations into the matter was underway, according to ANI. Citing sources, the news agency that the IED was found in a flower pot on a road divider near the Jindal House, which is just metres away from the embassy. According to them, it seems that the device was thrown out of a moving vehicle.
The National Investigation Agency and the Delhi Police Special Cell have reached the spot to investigate the matter, reported India Today. The area has been cordoned off and the police have been deployed in heavy numbers. A team of the Central Reserve Police Force has been sent to increase security around the Israeli embassy.
Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava also visited the site to examine the situation. The police’s bomb disposal squad carried out searches at the blast site to ascertain if there were more explosives in the area.
An official said that forensic experts too examined the blast site. Samples of dust and grass were collected from the nearby area.
“We have handed over everything to investigating officers,” Rajnish, a forensic expert, said. “The investigating officer will send it to our laboratory. There was an explosion and what type of explosion it was will be disclosed after the examination.”
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said he has spoken to his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi. “Spoke just now to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi about the explosion outside the Israeli Embassy,” he tweeted. “We take this very seriously. Assured him of the fullest protection for the Embassy and Israeli diplomats. Matter is under investigation and no effort will be spared to find the culprits.”
The blast took place less than two kilometres from Vijaya Chowk, where President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior members of the government were present for the Beating Retreat ceremony.
Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka told India Today that the mission was on high alert. “Everybody in the embassy is safe,” he said. “We are all fine...We are cooperating with Delhi Police authorities and are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that any attempt to disturb peace should be firmly dealt with. “Concerned by the news of a blast near Israeli Embassy in Delhi,” he tweeted. “Agencies are determining the nature and cause of the blast. Thankfully, no loss of life reported yet. Any attempt to disturb the peace of Delhi should be firmly dealt with.”
Meanwhile, Mumbai Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar conducted a review meeting to assess the security situation in the city.
“Reviewed the situation in the state holding discussion with the state’s home minister and director general of police against the backdrop of the blast outside Israeli Embassy,” he tweeted. “Issued instruction to strengthen the security apparatus in the state along with Mumbai and Pune.”
A Mumbai police official said an alert was issued in the city and security has been beefed up. He added that the security of the Israeli consulate has been increased and police patrolling intensified.