JERUSALEM  - As the covert war between Iran and Israel moves into the open, the Jewish state is looking to use the attacks in Thailand and India to up diplomatic pressure on Tehran’s nuclear bid, commentators say.

Tensions have risen sharply following three bomb incidents in world capitals in less than 24 hours, putting the spotlight firmly on the ongoing shadow war between played out between the two foes over Tehran’s contested nuclear programme. Israel has blamed Iran for a series of bomb attempts targeting Israeli embassy personnel in India and Georgia, and another botched attempt in Thailand, accusing Tehran of staging a coordinated campaign of attacks against its diplomats.

Thai police have charged two Iranians over an alleged anti-Israeli bomb plot, with a senior intelligence official telling AFP they were “an assassination team and their targets were Israeli diplomats, including the ambassador.” Their plan, he said, was “to attach bombs to diplomats’ cars.” A third Iranian suspect was later arrested in Malaysia, police said. “Iran’s terrorist activities have been exposed to everyone,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, accusing the Islamic republic of “harming innocent diplomats across the world.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Wednesday urged Israel to refrain from military action against Iran, a report said, after Jerusalem accused Tehran for a series of blasts targeting Israeli diplomats. Tensions between the Middle East arch-foes have risen sharply following bombings in New Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok within a span of 24 hours.