An alleged Iranian plot to bomb targets in Bangkok was prevented Tuesday, when
an explosion occurred as members of a terror cell were assembling explosive
Their target, Israeli defense officials said, was likely an
Israeli institution or diplomat in Thailand’s capital.
The cell consisted
of three Iranians who rented a home in the Ekamai neighborhood in central
Bangkok. On Tuesday morning, an explosion rocked the house, likely the result of
a “work accident.”
The three men then fled the home, and one of them,
Saeid Moradi tried flagging down a taxi on the street. The driver refused to
allow Moradi in since his face was covered in blood, and the Iranian national
threw a grenade at the vehicle in response. He then threw another grenade at
police but it bounced off a tree and exploded next to him, blowing off his
“We 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 eighth of this month,” Police General Bansiri Prapapat told
A second Iranian national was apprehended in the afternoon at
Bangkok’s international airport as he tried boarding a flight to Malaysia.
Police later raided the home and discovered several kilograms of C-4 explosives
and a number of remote-control detonators.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
accused Iran of standing behind the plot to launch attacks in the city. Barak
visited Bangkok for several hours on Sunday before continuing to Singapore where
he is attending the annual air show.
“Iran and Hezbollah are terror
groups without red lines and are a danger to the stability in the region and the
entire world,” Barak said.
The explosions in Bangkok came a day after
bomb attacks targeted Israeli Embassy staff in India and Georgia. Israel has
accused Iran and Hezbollah of orchestrating those attacks.
denied its involvement.
Israeli delegations are on high alert around the
world out of fear that the spate of attacks will continue.
“Iran does not
need an excuse to attack,” a senior official said. “It just waits for a window
of opportunity and then tries to attack.” Last month, a Hezbollah operative
planning attacks against Israel’s embassy and local Jewish institutions was
captured in Bangkok. He later led investigators to a warehouse filled with more
than four tons of urea fertilizer and dozens of liters of liquid ammonium
nitrate, known bomb-making materials.
Israel is currently focusing its
intelligence efforts on trying to prove a link among the three recent bomb plots
– in New Delhi and Georgia on Monday and the explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday.
assessment within the defense establishment is that the Iranian nationals caught
in Bangkok were working on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’
Al-Quds Force, which is responsible for overseas operations.
was any doubt after the attacks in India and Georgia that they were carried out
by Iran the fact that Iranian nationals were captured in Bangkok is clear proof
of how Iran as a country is involved in terrorist activity overseas,” a senior
defense official said.
Following Monday’s attacks in Tbilisi and New
Delhi, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor
Liberman all pinned the blame squarely on Iran.
Government officials said
they would not have done so, risking losing credibility with India and Georgia,
had they not been in possession of clear evidence implicating Tehran.
government officials said Israel passed this information on to the relevant
Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser told Israel Radio that “Israel
will continue do defend Israelis wherever they are.”
Despite hints by
Liberman and other senior Israeli officials over the last two days that Israel
would respond to the attacks, Netanyahu did not convene his eight senior
ministers – known as the septet – or the security cabinet to discuss the
incidents. Some observers interpreted this as a sign that no large-scale
military operation – perhaps against Hezbollah – is being
Hauser said that if Iran, which has a rich track record of
carrying out terrorist attacks on foreign soil, is perpetrating such attacks
now, “we can only imagine what it will do” if it brings its nuclear program to
“This is a problem not only for Israel, but the whole world,”
he said.Reuters contributed to the report.