Thailand Bangkok police 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BANGKOK – Not far from several popular shopping malls in central Bangkok, where
young Thais were getting into the spirit of Valentine’s Day with pretty little
bouquets and boxes of chocolate, a less wholesome sight greeted passersby
The sidewalk of a busy four-lane road, just off the city’s
elevated light-rail line, bore the marks of a terrorist attack that unfolded
earlier in the afternoon.
A line of phone booths and a small pizzeria
right by a primary school had their windows blown out by an explosion and myriad
shards of broken glass carpeted the pavement.
Several curious onlookers
were taking pictures with their mobile phones.
“Why do they have to do
this on Valentine’s Day?” a young woman in a university student’s
black-and-white uniform demanded to know.
In response to an inquiring
reporter, a policeman at the site grimaced and made a slight chopping gesture at
his feet, indicating the attacker lost his legs in the
According to Thai media reports, at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday,
an explosion in a house rented by three Iranians sent them fleeing to the
streets. Two of them managed to escape, while the third, wounded and bleeding,
tried to hail a taxi.
When several taxis refused to stop, the man, later
identified by Thai media as Saeid Morabi, threw a small bomb at a cab, damaging
the vehicle and slightly injuring the driver.
Shortly afterward, Morabi
lobbed another bomb at an approaching policeman. But the device bounced back
from a tree, blowing off the Iranian’s legs and injuring three Thai civilians.
taken to a local hospital in critical condition.
One of his alleged
accomplices, identified as Muhammad Hazaei, was later arrested at Bangkok’s
Suvarnabhumi Airport as he was waiting to board a flight to Malaysia.
of late Tuesday night, the third Iranian remained at large.
said officers uncovered a cache of C-4 explosives and remote-control detonators
in the house the three Iranians were renting.
The Bangkok terror attack
came just a month after a Swedish-Lebanese man, with suspected ties to
Hezbollah, was arrested in the city on terrorism charges following a tip-off to
Thai authorities from US and Israeli sources that the terrorist group might be
planning attacks against local tourist hotspots.
Police uncovered a large
cache of bomb-making materials in a shop rented by Atris
Bangkok’s Valentine’s Day bombing also came just a day after
bombs targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia, in what Israeli officials
believe were coordinated attacks by Iran.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
who is on an official visit to nearby Singapore, said the Bangkok attack “proved
that Iran and its proxies continue to operate in the ways of
Thai officials were more circumspect, insisting there was, as
yet, no evidence to indicate the three Iranians were planning attacks in
Thailand is a major tourist hub that welcomes millions of
travelers every year, including scores of Israelis and Middle Easterners. Thai
officials are often at pains to play down the prospect of terror attacks by
Islamist terrorists in the country for fear of scaring away potential
Over the past several years a brutal insurgency by separatists
in Thailand’s three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces, which border
Malaysia, has claimed thousands of lives.