A low-intensity explosion took place near the Israel Embassy in the heart of Lutyens' Delhi on Friday evening, but no injuries were reported. The Delhi Police said the blast took place near the pavement in the high-security zone and that the windscreens of three cars nearby were damaged.
Shortly after the blast, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said an alert has been issued at all airports, important installations and government buildings in view of the blast, and that enhanced security measures have been put in place. Security has also been increased at the office of the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai.
The Israeli foreign ministry said all its diplomats and embassy staff are "safe and sound" following the blast. However, an Israeli official on condition of anonymity said the country is treating the blast as a terrorist incident.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi regarding the explosion and assured him of "fullest protection" to diplomats and the mission. In a tweet, Jaishankar said India has taken the incident "very seriously".
The Delhi Police has registered a case, with its Special Cell investigating the matter. "I just visited the scene of crime. A case has been registered and the matter is being investigated by Special Cell. We cannot say anything more on this right now," said Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava.
Several senior officials of the Intelligence Bureau, including officers of the Delhi Police's Special Cell, Crime Branch, also arrived at the scene to investigate the blast. A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reached later as well.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet expressed concern at the news. "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," he said.
Concerned by the news of a blast near Israeli Embassy in Delhi. 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 shud be firmly dealt with — Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 29, 2021
The fire department received the call at 5.11 pm as the Beating Retreat ceremony was going on at Rajpath a few kilometres away. The embassy is located on APJ Abdul Kalam Road.
An Improvised Explosive Device (IED), placed inside a flower pot on the road divider, is suspected to be the cause of the blast. It appears that it was thrown from a moving vehicle, said police sources.
"A very low intensity improvised device went off... No injury to any person was reported and nor was there any damage to property except the glass panes of three vehicles parked nearby," Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said. Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation, added the police.
"Police are scanning the area where the blast took place to find the reason behind the explosion. No battery or electronic device found yet," said sources.
"Investigators have recovered an envelope from the spot, the text written on it is related to Israel Embassy officials. Investigators are looking into whether it is linked to the incident or not," they added.
#WATCH | Delhi Police team near the Israel Embassy where a low-intensity explosion happened. Nature of explosion being ascertained. Some broken glasses at the spot. No injuries reported; further investigation underway pic.twitter.com/RphSggzeOa — ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2021
"The mirrors of two to three cars are broken. Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot," said an official of the fire department.