Thai Police: Iranians Were Targeting Individuals


Salon Staff
February 15, 2012 10:36AM (UTC)

BANGKOK (AP) — Two Iranian suspects arrested in Bangkok after three explosions hit the city were likely planning to attack individuals but did not have the capacity to target large crowds or buildings, Thai police said Wednesday.

A day after the blasts in a residential Bangkok neighborhood, Thai authorities admitted to being caught by surprise and said they had little information about who the alleged attackers were and their possible targets.

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National Security Council chief Wichean Potephosree told reporters authorities had not determined if there was any link between Tuesday's explosions in Bangkok and one in New Delhi a day earlier. Israel has blamed both on Iran.

"We haven't found any links but we are still investigating," he said.

Four Thai civilians were wounded in Bangkok after a cache of explosives ignited the Iranians' home, apparently by mistake, ripping off part of the roof. A later explosion blew off the leg of an Iranian who had fled, carrying what looked like grenades.

When police searched the house, the bomb squad found and defused two explosives, each made of three or four pounds of C-4 explosives inside a pair of radios. National Police Chief Gen. Prewpan Damapong said the bombs were "magnetic" and could be stuck on vehicles.

"From the investigation, we found the type of explosives indicated that the prepared targets were individuals," Wichean said. "Based on the equipment and materials we found, they were aimed at individuals and the destruction capacity was not intended for large crowds or big buildings."

The wounded Iranian was in police custody at a Bangkok hospital. Immigration police detained a second Iranian as he tried to board a flight for Malaysia.

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Both men were facing four charges, including possession of explosives, attempted murder, attempted murder of a policeman and causing explosions that damaged property, Prewpan said.

Security forces were searching for a third Iranian suspect.

Israel's Channel 10 TV quoted unidentified Thai authorities as saying the captured Iranians confessed to targeting Israeli interests.

There was no comment from Iranian officials in Tehran.

There seemed to be no doubt in the minds of Israeli officials, who blamed Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

"The attempted terrorist attack in Bangkok proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in Singapore. "The recent terror attacks are yet another example of this."

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Salon Staff

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