Thailand: Iranians targeted Israelis

2012-02-16 10:00

Bangkok - Thailand's police chief said the Iranians who were arrested after accidentally setting off explosives at their rented home in Bangkok were plotting to attack Israeli diplomats, bolstering claims by Israel that the group was part of an Iranian-backed network of terror.

"I can tell you that the target was specific and aimed at Israeli diplomatic staff," police chief General Prewpan Dhamapong told a Thai television station late on Wednesday.

He also confirmed that the type of explosive - a homemade "sticky" bomb - found at the blast site on Tuesday matched the devices planted on Israeli diplomatic cars in India and Georgia a day earlier.

"The type of improvised explosives they used were the same. The type that was attached to vehicles," Prewpan said, confirming that an investigation into a magnetic strip found in Bangkok was the same type used in New Delhi.

The comments were the first confirmation by Thailand that the explosions this week were part of a terror plot to be carried out in the country. It raises concerns that even Thailand - a sunny tourist destination long perceived to be off the global terror map - is equally vulnerable to attacks.

A red flag was raised last month, with the arrest of a Lebanese-Swedish man with alleged links to Hezbollah who led police to a warehouse near Bangkok packed with more than 4 000kg of urea fertiliser and other materials that could be used to make bombs.

Link unclear

Israel and the United States at the time warned their citizens to be alert in Bangkok.

The US Embassy said that foreign terrorists may have been looking to attack tourist areas in Bangkok and Thai media reported the attacks were aimed at Israeli targets, including the Israeli Embassy. Thai authorities insisted that Thailand was a staging ground for attacks but not the target.

Thai officials say it is not clear if the two incidents are connected.

Authorities in Thailand are still trying to determine if the Iranian men were part of a larger terror group. Two of the men were detained in Bangkok on Tuesday after fleeing the destroyed house, while a third was arrested on Wednesday in neighbouring Malaysia after boarding a flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overnight.

Israel accuses Iran of waging a campaign of state terror and has threatened military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, while Iran has denied responsibility for all three plots this week.

Violence denounced

On Monday in New Delhi, an explosion tore through an Israeli diplomatic vehicle, wounding the driver and a diplomat's wife.

On the same day in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, authorities say attackers planted an explosive device on the car of a driver for the Israeli Embassy, but it was discovered and defused before going off.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the violence.

"If this aggression isn't halted, ultimately it will spread to many other countries," Netanyahu said in Israel's parliament on Wednesday. He convened his Security Cabinet to discuss terrorism against Israel and "Iran's involvement in repeated attempts to attack Israeli targets", his office said.

Israeli Ambassador to Thailand Itzhak Shoham said in an interview on Tuesday that the similarity of the bombs found in Bangkok and New Delhi has led Israel to believe the groups are linked.

Criminal charges

"We can assume that there is the same network of terror," he said.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast called the allegations baseless and said Israel was trying to damage his country's relations with Thailand and fuel conspiracy theories. Iran has blamed the Jewish state for the recent killings of Iranian atomic scientists.

Thai police have named the Iranians in custody here as Saeid Moradi, who lost at least one leg in a self-inflicted grenade blast as he tried to flee police, and Mohammad Kharzei, who was detained on Tuesday as he tried to board a flight to Malaysia.

Each man faces four criminal charges: Possession of explosives, attempted murder, attempted murder of a policeman and causing explosions that damaged property.

Thai officials identified the third suspect as Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, and officials in Malaysia said he was arrested there on Wednesday.

Individual targets

Malaysia federal police spokesperson Ramli Yoosuf said Sadaghatzadeh was being investigated for terrorism-related activities linked to the Bangkok blasts, but could not say whether he would be extradited to Thailand.

At least five bombs were identified in Bangkok. The first blew off the roof of the men's house, and Moradi detonated two others.

He hurled one at a taxi when its driver refused to give him a ride, and threw the other at police to fend them off. The taxi driver and three other Thais were wounded in the taxi blast.

When police searched the men's house in the busy Sukhumvit Road area, a bomb squad found and defused two explosives, each made of three or four pounds of C-4 explosives inside a pair of radios.

The type of explosives suggested they would have been used to target individuals rather than large crowds or buildings, said National Security Council chief Wichean Potephosree.

  • Jaba - 2012-02-16 10:24

    Iran threatened to attack Israeli diplomats just two months ago, and now that they have attacked (and failed) they are trying to deny this in order to protect the Ayatollahs. Iran is losing friends fast - even those who were supporting them through the sanctions are turning their backs on them (India).

      Garth - 2012-02-16 10:46

      Agree with you Jaba. India has had their own share of trouble with muslim terrorists and does not appreciate the ayatollahs using India to spread their particular brand of hatred and religious intolerance. Hey fido, get your head into the sunshine boy.

      Jaba - 2012-02-16 10:50

      Correct - India is not the US or Britain. And because they act on their own accord they are turning their back on Iran. Just yesterday, India’s union of rice production said that they no longer see Iran as a partner because of the terror that Iran ordered on Indian soil. The flood is coming Fidel... watch this space.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 11:05

      Indian officials have reserved judgment on who was behind the attack in New Delhi. "At the moment I'm not pointing the finger at any particular group or organization, but whoever did it, we condemn it in the strongest terms," Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said. Source: Indian Times Stop making things up! What you wish for and reality are totally two different things.

      Marcell - 2012-02-16 12:39

      @Infedel I don't wish for the destruction of Iran but reality will be something different.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 13:10

      @BA Israel doesn't represent world Jewry! There are Jews, and there is Israel.

      Fred - 2012-02-16 16:27

      Another clanger from Fidel! Hilarious.

      customdesign - 2012-02-16 17:09

      India is one of the most pro-Israel countries in the world- when it comes to taking sides in the end Iran will definitely be on the short end.

  • Kobus - 2012-02-16 10:28

    Time for Israel to show them whom they are dealing with. Go Israel !!!

      Garth - 2012-02-16 10:45

      There is only one fool here fido; he that supports a country that supports terrorism, himself supports terrorism. Your islamic terrorist heroes have shot themselves in the foot with this one - have you learnt your lesson yet, boy?

      Anthony - 2012-02-16 11:09

      @Fidel, With your crazy anti Western views, you have lost any sense of reality. What a shame that Iranian population, have not got the freedom, you so eagerly abuse!!!

      jeansjunkie - 2012-02-16 11:19

      If you support Iran so passionately Fidel, why don't you go live there and stop preaching your ideology to us?

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 11:19

      Iran did have a democracy. England and(not me) decided that democratic Iran was charging too much for oil so brought the Shah back. Depriving the Iranians of democracy. Then the Shah was decided to be a bit of a nationalist and nationalised the oil so the Americans got rid of him. Since then, the Iranian people have suffered a lot.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 11:23

      @Jean Stupid questions have no answers. Your post qualifies as a profoundly stupid one.

      Gerhard - 2012-02-16 11:34

      Wake up dude! Go Iran!

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 14:45

      Are you going to fund my relocation to that country.

  • Fidel - 2012-02-16 11:09

    "Cui bono? Who benefits?" How could these "Terror Attacks" possibly benefit the state of Iran? Now, who has a LONG history of using "FALSE FLAG" Terror operations to advance its geo-political interests? Who has the motto "By Way Of Deception, You Shall Make War"???

  • BA - 2012-02-16 11:38

    Fidel, as a matter of interest, what do you have to say about the muslim terrorist attacks that took place in India last year? Also, are you suggesting that you know of muslims in South Africa that are intent on harming Israelis, Jews or Israeli targets? Please consider your response very carefully before replying.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 13:24

      How about we just let the peanut gallery continue to make factual errors and I will gladly correct them.

      BA - 2012-02-16 13:59

      Fidel you are a coward. You have no courage of your convictions. Now we know what kind of a person you are. Answer the questions.

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 14:58

      You know nothing about me except what you have assumed from my comments, so shoulnd't really make judgements based on your own prejudice.

      BA - 2012-02-16 21:13

      I know you are a pathetic coward. There are no assumptions. It is all fact. Answer the questions.

  • Che - 2012-02-16 11:57

    God made a promise to the three Jewish Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) which was Canaan (Israel), in turn God also made a promise to Hagar & Ismael (Islam) that Ismael be the forefather of a great nation. Israel is God chosen people and God keeps His promises!

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 12:39

      Your post is only a collection of ridiculous myths. Myths may solve mysteries only.

      Che - 2012-02-16 12:46

      Please all knowing Fidel bestow your wisdom on these so called "Myths". You seem blinded by your hatred for Israel ?

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 13:06

      The world wasn't created in seven days! Happy..

      Che - 2012-02-16 13:20

      We aren't discussing creation here, this is History ? Haters will be hating. Please elaborate on the History of the Hebrews and Islamic people ?

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 13:29

      Jews have always been consumate story tellers. The seven day theory was concocted by a bunch of men with beards who herded goats in the desert, and through over exposure to the sun started to believe their hallucinations as fact.

      Che - 2012-02-16 13:42

      Wow, still on that seven day story, I thought you were a proud man that based his theories on fact ? but you are proving over and over again that you know nothing. While we are stuck on 7 days, how did Israel manage to defeat Syria, Lebanon, Egypt(Sinai) and Jordan in 7 days ?

      Che - 2012-02-16 13:44 My Bad, that was six days..

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 14:05

      All in all a fairly lame piece of trolling for a debate that I frankly couldn't be bothered with.

      Che - 2012-02-16 14:18

      It's such a shame, this actually has everything to do with the topic above, you were the one heading off topic with your creation slandering. The two parties involved Israel (Hebrews) and Iran (Islam) started a long time ago.. but like I said before your hatred has blinded you

      Fidel - 2012-02-16 14:33

      Or it may or may not be true that Christianity, Judaism or Islam is just "quakery".

      Che - 2012-02-16 15:32

      It's unfortunate that religion is the cause for this violent action by both countries, instead they should've tried being righteous.

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