Thai police seek fifth Iranian bomber suspect

"we're currently gathering evidence to get an arrest warrant approved," says Thai deputy police chief.

By REUTERS
February 17, 2012 13:15
1 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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BANGKOK - Thai police said on Friday they were looking for a fifth person in connection with a series of blasts in Bangkok blamed on Iranians who may have been targeting Israeli diplomats, as in India and Georgia earlier in the week.

"There are more than four people involved in the blasts and we're currently gathering evidence to get an arrest warrant approved," Deputy Police Chief Pansiri Prapawat told a news conference, declining to name the suspect.

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"It is still unclear whether the suspect is Iranian or not, but he is a Middle Eastern male," he added.

Thai media said the man had been caught on security cameras going in and out of the house rented by the other suspects, last leaving on Tuesday, Feb. 14, a few hours before an apparently accidental explosion there.

One Iranian man, Saeid Moradi, who lost his legs when a bomb he was carrying exploded shortly after, remains seriously ill in hospital. A second, Mohammad Hazaei, is in custody after being arrested at Bangkok's main airport and a third, Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, is being held in Malaysia after fleeing Thailand.

An Iranian woman, Rohani Leila, is also wanted in connection with the case but is thought to have returned recently to Tehran. She rented the house where the three stayed.

Police Forensic Unit Commander Peerapong Damapong told Thai radio the Bangkok bombs were quite similar to the one used in India and were unlike anything seen in Thailand before.

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"It's one of those transistor radios that you can carry around, but the insides have been taken out and replaced with C-4, with the head of the bomb consisting of a bolt, a pin and a detonator attached to it," he aid.

The explosive had been configured with a five-second delay and a magnet attached to the bomb would allow it to be placed underneath a car, to be activated through pulling on string attached to the pin, he said. Metal bearings in the bomb would have added to the destructive impact.

"From what we've seen, it's possible for the components to be bought in Thailand. The explosive isn't that complicated, it's just something that we haven't really seen in this country."

C4, a plastic explosive, is used primarily by the military but is relatively easy to purchase in Thailand.

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