Thai defense officials said the Iranian citizens responsible for
explosions in Thailand on Tuesday intended to attack Israeli targets,
Army Radio reported.
Two suspects have been arrested, and police
were in pursuit of three additional suspects. The first arrest is an
Iranian man who was hospitalized Bangkok when a bomb he was carrying
exploded and blew one of his legs off. The second is 42-year-old
Mohammad Hazai, who was arrested at the airport just before boarding a
flight to Malaysia.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said
that the series of bomb blasts that struck Thailand was part
of an attempted terrorist attack perpetrated by Iran.
before the blast that wounded the Iranian bomber there had been an
explosion in a house the man was renting in the Ekamai area of central
Bangkok, and shortly afterward, another blast on a nearby road. Five
people were injured in the explosions.
"The attempted terror attack in Thailand proves once again that Iran and
its proxies continue to operate in the ways of terror and the latest
attacks are an example of that," Barak said while on a state visit to
Singapore. The incident came one day after near simultaneous attacks on Israeli embassies in India and Georgia.
Barak's accusations leveled against Tehran, the Foreign Ministry said
Tuesday that Israel was in contact with the authorities in Bangkok and
was still awaiting confirmation that the man involved in the blasts was
The ministry added that it was not yet clear if Israel was the intended target of the attacks.
Thai police said they were working to make safe an unspecified
amount of explosives found in the house, which did not appear to have
been badly damaged.
Police said they were looking for two other
men who had been living there and they later said they had apprehended
one suspect at Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi airport.
discovered the injured man's passport. It's an Iranian passport and he
entered the country through Phuket and arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport
on the 8th of this month," Police General Bansiri Prapapat told Reuters.
declined to make any link between Tuesday's incident and the arrest
last month of a Lebanese man in Bangkok who, according to the Thai
authorities, had links to Hezbollah.
Police discovered a large
amount of explosive material in an area southwest of Bangkok at around
the time of that arrest. The United States, Israel and other countries
issued warnings, subsequently lifted, of possible terrorist attacks in
areas frequented by foreigners.
The Lebanese man has been charged
with possession of explosive material and prosecutors said further
charges could follow next week.
Tuesday's blasts in the sprawling Thai capital were not near the main area for embassies.
taxi driver told Thai television the suspect had thrown a bomb in front
of his car when he refused to pick him up near the site of the first
blast. He was wounded slightly.
Government spokeswoman Thitima
Chaisaeng said police had then tried to move in and arrest the man but
he attempted to throw another bomb at them. It went off before he was
able to do so, blowing one of his legs off. A doctor at Chulalongkorn
Hospital told reporters the other leg had had to be amputated.
doctor was quoted on television as saying three Thai people had
suffered minor injuries in the incident, in addition to the taxi driver.
have been no major attacks blamed on Islamist militants in Bangkok even
though Muslim rebels are battling government security forces in
Muslim-dominated southern provinces of the Buddhist kingdom.
1994, suspected Islamist militants tried to set off a large truck bomb
outside the Israeli embassy in Bangkok but they abandoned the bid and
fled after the truck was involved in a minor traffic accident as it
approached the mission.