'Link found to Thailand-India-Georgia bombs'

Thai security authorities say they have discovered a "direct connection" between the attacks in New Delhi, Tbilisi, Bangkok.

By
February 16, 2012 21:04
3 minute read.
Thai policeman at the scene of Bangkok bombing

Thai policeman at the scene of Bangkok bombing 390 (R). (photo credit: Damir Sagolij/Reuters)

 
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Thai security authorities announced on Thursday that they discovered a “direct connection” linking this week’s attacks against Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India with the Iranian terrorist cell apprehended in Bangkok on Tuesday.

The cell, which consisted of three Iranian nationals, intended to target Israeli diplomats, Thai Police Chief Prewpan Dhamapong said.

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On Thursday, two of the Iranians were charged in court over the alleged plot. They were caught trying to flee Bangkok after one of the bombs they were assembling accidentally exploded.

Dhamapong said Muhammad Kharzei, one of the cell members captured trying to board a plane to Malaysia, had “partially confessed,” and had acknowledged knowing one of the other suspects.

Also on Thursday, a Kuwaiti newspaper said that a plot to assassinate Defense Minister Ehud Barak had been foiled by Singapore authorities in cooperation with the Mossad, during his visit to the island country earlier this week.

The story in Al-Jarida claimed that three members of a Hezbollah-Iranian terrorist cell were arrested by Singapore’s security agencies. Israeli defense officials said they were not familiar with the report.

According to Al-Jarida, the information on the plot was obtained by the Mossad, which passed it on to Singapore before Barak’s visit. The defense minister was in Singapore to attend the annual air show, and for talks with local officials.

According to the report, the Hezbollah-Iranian cell had accurate information on Barak’s schedule during his three-day visit to Singapore, and planned to assassinate him at his hotel. Barak is now in Japan on a four-day visit and is scheduled to return to Israel on Monday.

The Times of India revealed on Thursday that Mossad chief Tamir Pardo had visited New Delhi just days before this week’s attack but failed to predict that a diplomat’s car would be targeted. According to the report, Pardo felt that Israelis in India were safer from possible revenge attacks than their counterparts in Turkey, Southeast Asia and South America.

According to the Indian press, Indian Military Chief Gen. V.K.

Singh will visit Israel next month for talks with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.


Barak said Thursday that Iran’s announcement of new nuclear achievements was exaggerated and meant to fend off action against the Islamic republic.

“They are describing a situation that is better and more advanced than the one they are in, in order to create a feeling among all the players that the point of no return is already behind them, which is not true,” Barak told Israel Radio.

Iran on Wednesday proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how, including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster – a move that may heighten its confrontation with the West over suspicions it is seeking the means to make atomic bombs.

Barak said those announcements were meant to create the impression that any action taken by world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program would be too late. Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.

“They are definitely making progress, but in order to deter anyone dealing with them – or perhaps even to make this seem superfluous – they are priding themselves on achievements that do not yet exist,” Barak said.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied Israeli accusations Thursday that his group was behind bombers who attacked Israeli missions in India and Georgia.

“I assure you that Hezbollah has nothing to do with this,” he told supporters at an event marking the fourth anniversary of the assassination of its military commander, Imad Mughniyeh.

But he reiterated his pledge to respond to Mughniyeh’s killing: “As long as there is blood in the veins of any [member] of Hezbollah, [then] the day when we will avenge the killing of Imad Moughniyah will come.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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