Thai policeman takes photo of terror site_390.
(photo credit: Reuters)
BANGKOK – As a long-time resident of Bangkok, Israeli Shuki Rosenzweig, has
lived through a military coup, years of roiling political unrest, and most
recently, a devastating flood late last year that submerged much of Bangkok in
deep water for weeks on end.
Yet it was Tuesday’s bomb attacks by a
suspected Iranian terrorist that have finally dampened his mood.
Israel we’re used to [terrorist attacks],” said the Jerusalemite, 44, who has
made a name for himself in Bangkok as a veteran Muay-Thai martial arts fighter.
“But it’s sad that terrorism is following us to a safe haven like
Bangkok. There’s just no escaping it anymore.”
Rosenzweig lives in
central Bangkok, within walking distance of where Saeid Morabi, an Iranian
national, went on a rampage Tuesday afternoon.
While fleeing down a
street, the Iranian lobbed two bombs – one at a taxi, another at approaching
Four Thais were wounded and Morabi lost both his legs when the
second bomb bounded back to him.
The Bangkok incident is seen by Israeli
officials as one in a series of terrorist attacks planned by Iran against
Israelis from Tbilisi to New Delhi to Bangkok. It also comes on the heels of the
mid-January arrest in the Thai capital of a Swedish-Lebanese man with suspected
links to Hezbollah.
Police found a large cache of bomb-making materials
in his rented shop house.
“When I look at the global picture, not just
Bangkok, it’s going from bad to worse,” Rosenzweig said. “I don’t see a way out.
These people just don’t care about human life.”
Bangkok is a major draw
for post-army Israelis, tens of thousands of whom pass through the city before
fanning out on trips across Southeast Asia.
Many of them stop by
Bangkok’s five-story Chabad House, which is situated in the middle of the
Because of its high concentrations of foreigners,
the area is seen as a target for terrorists.
In recent weeks security at
the Chabad House has been heightened. Yet most Israeli travelers, said Rabbi
Nehemia Wilhelm, a Lubavitcher from Jerusalem who runs the institution, remain
stoic about the increased threat.
“People aren’t panicking,” Wilhelm
said. “They’re more alert, sure, but it doesn’t seem like they’re canceling
Yet some travelers are clearly irked by developments that
indicate that the famously freewheeling capital of Buddhist Thailand, too, has
come to be in the cross-hairs of Iranian-backed terrorists.
“We come all
this way from the balagan
[mess] in the Middle East,” said a young Israeli who
is on his way to Thailand’s exotic south, and asked not to be identified to
avoid causing further worry to his parents back home.
“Then here we are,
having to watch out for bags and looking over our shoulders.”