Israel has accused Iran of waging a covert terrorism campaign from the Middle East to Asia after a botched bomb plot in the Thai capital led to the capture of two men believed to be Iranian.
A series of blasts in Bangkok’s busy Sukhumvit area wounded four civilians and blew the leg off a man who fled a house carrying what appeared to be grenades after a cache of explosives ignited there.
”The attempted terrorist attack in Bangkok proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror,” Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said during a visit to Singapore.
The Bangkok blasts came the day after an Israeli embassy employee and driver were wounded in a blast in Delhi and another device was defused on an Israeli embassy car in Tbilisi, Georgia. Israel blamed Iran for those attacks as well but Iran denied any involvement.
Amid escalating tensions, Israel has threatened military strikes on suspected Iranian nuclear facilities while Iran has blamed Israel for the killing of atomic scientists.
Thai police said magnetic bombs made with C-4 explosives which could be placed on vehicles were found inside the rented Bangkok house where three men they believe to be Iranians had been staying.
The bombs were said to have looked like transistor radios. Surveillance footage shows that after an explosion that blew the roof off the house, three men walked down a street late on Tuesday. One of them was identified in the Thai media as the Iranian Saeid Moradi or Saci Morabi. ”He tried to wave down a taxi … and the driver refused to take him,” the police general Pansiri Prapawat said.
The man hurled what appeared to be an explosive device that damaged the taxi and wounded the driver.
General Pansiri said when police tried to catch the man in a nearby street he hurled an explosive device at them.
”Somehow it bounced back and blew his leg off,” General Pansiri said. Police said they had found Iranian identification, as well as Iranian, US and Thai currency in a backpack.
The man is under guard at a Bangkok hospital.
Police said a second man, who police identified as the Iranian Mohummad Hazaei, was arrested at Bangkok airport while trying to board a flight to Malaysia.
They are hunting a third man dressed in camouflage shorts who was seen with blood streaming down his face.
The US, Israel and other countries last month warned that foreign terrorists were planning an attack on tourist areas in Bangkok.
Police at the time arrested a Lebanese-Swedish man with alleged links to Hezbollah who led police to a warehouse filled with 4000 kilograms of urea fertiliser and a large quantity of liquid ammonium nitrate. The man, Atris Hussein, was arrested after a tip-off by Israeli intelligence agents.