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Thailand probes links between Bangkok, Delhi blasts

Last updated on: February 15, 2012 18:00 IST

Thailand probes links between Bangkok, Delhi blasts

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Thai authorities were on Wednesday probing possible links between the three explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday and the Monday attack on an Israeli embassy car in Delhi as evidence emerged that "sticky" bomb was used in both the cases.

However, Israel's Ambassador to Thailand Itzhak Shoham was emphatic when he claimed that the three Iranian suspects involved in Tuesday's blasts were part of the same network of assailants who targeted the Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia.

Thailand, which detained two Iranians and charged them with causing explosions and other offences, identified a third Iranian suspect, who has already fled to Malaysia.

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Image: A police expert works at the site of an explosion in Ekamai area in central Bangkok
Photographs: Kerek Wongsa/Reuters
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Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told reporters, "We cannot say yet if it is a terrorist act but it is similar to the assassination attempt against a diplomat in India."

Twenty-eight-year-old Saerb Moradi, one of the Iranian suspects, set off three blasts in Bangkok, blowing off his own legs while one of his compatriots was arrested when he attempted to flee to Malaysia.

Four locals, including a woman, were also injured in the blasts that occurred outside a school on Soi Sukhumvit 71 Road that branches off a busy multi-lane road in the Thai capital far away from foreign embassies.

Thailand's National Security Council chief Wichean Potephosree was cautious when he said the government has not yet determined if there were any links between the events in Bangkok, New Delhi and Tbilisi.

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Image: Police and forensic officials examine a damaged Israeli embassy car after an explosion in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters

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Thailand probes links between Bangkok, Delhi blasts

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"We haven't found any links but we are still investigating. We admit there was magnetic component aiming at individuals but the origin of the magnet still has to be investigated," he said.

AFP, quoting unnamed Thai intelligence sources, said Israeli diplomats were the target of Tuesday's botched bomb plot by three Iranian suspects in Bangkok. "These three Iranian men are an assassination team and their targets were Israeli diplomats including the Ambassador," the sources said. "Their plan was to attach bombs to diplomats' cars."

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Image: A bomb disposal expert works at the site
Photographs: Kerek Wongsa/Reuters

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Thailand probes links between Bangkok, Delhi blasts

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Thailand's deputy police chief Pansiri Prapawat said a third Iranian Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 27, who is suspected to be involved in Tuesday's blasts, left Bangkok for Kuala Lumpur. Moradi, who is being treated at a hospital, and Mohammad Hazaei, 42, were taken into custody yesterday.
Hazaei was carrested from Suvarnabhumi airport when he was trying to flee to Malaysia. The three men had rented a house in Soi Pridi Panomyong area about a month ago.

The police were now also looking for an Iranian woman. A police search of the house uncovered a number of electronic devices that could be used to make explosives. It is believed that the three men tried to flee from the rented house after the first bomb exploded inside.

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Image: Police and forensic experts investigate the site
Photographs: Damir Sagolj /Reuters

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Thailand probes links between Bangkok, Delhi blasts

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Sedaghatzadeh and Hazaei managed to flee but Moradi could not. After a taxi refused to pick him up, Moradi threw an explosive at it and later at police.

Israeli Ambassador Shoham said there appeared to be a close link between the bombings in Bangkok, Delhi and Tbilisi. He felt that the perpetrators in Thailand had been trying to target Israeli diplomats.  "This is what we were concerned about... that the targets were the Israelis -- same system, same explosive, and part of the same network," Shoham said.

Happy that the attempt in Bangkok failed, he added, "It doesn't mean that everything is finished, but we hope we are on the right path."

The Israeli government has accused Iran of being behind the bombings. Iran has denied any link with explosions and accused "elements linked with the (Israeli) Zionist regime" of being responsible. The Israeli ambassador in Bangkok said authorities had been alert to a threat since the detention of a Lebanese- Swedish national in the Thai capital last month. Thai authorities alleged the Lebanese man had links to Hezbollah group.

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Image: A bomb disposal expert works at the site of an explosion
Photographs: Kerek Wongsa/Reuters

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