Iranian blows off legs in Bangkok blast

2012-02-14 15:05
A Thai Explosive Ordnance Disposal official examines a backpack that was left on the bomb site by a suspected bomber in Bangkok, Thailand. (Apichart Weerawong, AP)

A Thai Explosive Ordnance Disposal official examines a backpack that was left on the bomb site by a suspected bomber in Bangkok, Thailand. (Apichart Weerawong, AP)

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Bangkok - An Iranian man carrying explosives blew off his own legs and wounded four other people in two blasts on Tuesday in Bangkok, Thai authorities said.

Security forces found more explosives in the assailant's rented house in the capital, but it was not known what targets they might have been meant for, Police General Pansiri Prapawat said.

A day earlier, an Israeli diplomatic car was bombed in New Delhi, and Israel blamed Iran for that attack. Authorities did not immediately say if a link was suspected, but Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said in Jerusalem, "we can't rule out any possibility".

One of the blasts in Bangkok damaged a taxi, and a grenade detonated as the assailant carried it down a sidewalk outside a Thai school, said Col. Warawut Taweechaikarn, a senior police officer in the district.

Photos of the wounded Iranian man showed him covered in dark soot on a sidewalk outside the school strewn with broken glass. A dark satchel nearby was investigated by a bomb disposal unit.

Pansiri said a passport found at the scene indicated the man was Saeid Moradi from Iran. Authorities in Tehran could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lebanese man detained

Three Thai men and one Thai woman were brought to Kluaynamthai Hospital for treatment of injuries, Suwinai Busarakamwong, a doctor there, said.

A third blast occurred inside a rented house on the same road, busy with businesses and apartment blocks, but it injured no one.

Last month, a Lebanese-Swedish man with alleged links to pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants was detained by Thai police.

He led authorities to a warehouse filled with more than 4 000kg of urea fertiliser and several gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate.

Israel and the United States at the time warned their citizens to be alert in the capital, but Thai authorities said Thailand appeared to have been a staging ground but not the target of any attack.

Pansiri said that "so far, we haven't found any links between these two cases".

No apparent link

He said Moradi had been renting the house in Bangkok with two other unidentified foreigners. Immigration police are trying to trace Moradi's movements, but initial reports indicated he had at least travelled to Bangkok from the southern Thai resort town of Phuket on February 8.

Bangkok's blasts came one day after bombs targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. The attack in India wounded four people, while the device found in Georgia did not explode. Iran has denied it was responsible.

In Jerusalem, Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said there was not yet any sign that any targets in Bangkok were Israeli or Jewish.

Thailand has rarely been a target for foreign terrorists, although a domestic Muslim insurgency in the country's south has involved bombings of civilian targets.

Read more on:    iran  |  israel  |  thailand  |  security

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