Times of India
Following deadly attacks on Israeli nationals in France and Denmark earlier this year including on the weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’, Indian intelligence agencies have issued an alert, warning of “imminent” attack(s) on Israeli nationals and installations by al-Qaida.
An official said the alert was of a serious nature and all states, particularly Delhi, Maharashtra, Goa and Himachal Pradesh where the maximum number of Israeli nationals live or visit, have been asked to ensure no untoward incident takes place. Security of the Israeli embassy and other buildings in New Delhi has been increased in the wake of the threat.
Security agencies don’t want to take chances with the safety of Jews in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to visit Israel later this year and also the fact that the country has emerged as an important partner of India in its fight against terrorism. Modi will be the first Indian PM ever to visit Israel.
During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and in February 2012 in Delhi, Israeli nationals were specifically targeted by terrorists at Chabad House and on Aurangzeb Road respectively.
The advisory, issued by the government this week, said Al Qaeda and its affiliates could target Israeli nationals in India. Sources said Israelis could be attacked in hotels, Chabad centers, synagogues, restaurants, community centers and tourist destinations.
Officials told TOI that Al Qaeda planned to target Jews during the community’s upcoming festivals ‘The Three Weeks’ and Tisha B’Av.
Al Qaeda carried out one of the biggest attacks against Israeli nationals in France on January 7 when two brothers – Said and Cherif Kouachi – entered the office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris armed with assault rifles and other weapons and killed 12 people and injured 11. The attackers were members of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.
Similarly, Israelis were targeted in two consecutive attacks in Copenhagen on February 14 and 15.
The government, intelligence and security officials have held regular meetings with their Israeli counterparts since 26/11 and the 2012 attack on an Israeli diplomat as a large number of tourists from Israel visit India every year and are vulnerable to attacks from Al Qaeda-affiliated organizations.