Thailand blasts: police search for two more suspectsBy
Authorities confirmed that attacks, which Israel has blamed on Iran, were targeting Israeli diplomats
Police in Thailand are searching for another two suspects, including a possible bomb specialist, involved in Tuesday’s blasts in the capital, Bangkok.
The Thai authorities have confirmed that the attacks – which Israel has blamed on Iran – were targeting Israeli diplomats.
Bangkok’s police commissioner, Lieutenant General Winai Thongson, said one of the two new suspects may have been providing training in explosives to the three Iranian men detained after their thwarted bomb plot injured five people, including one of the Iranians.
The suspected bomb specialist was caught on CCTV as he left the house rented by the trio hours before a cache of explosives accidentally detonated.
Those three men were later also caught on film fleeing the residence when its roof blew off in the explosion. After the blast, one of the men, 28-year-old Saied Moradi, wandered into a busy street and hurled a bomb at a taxi and another at police, injuring four Thais and accidentally blowing off one of his own legs.
Moradi was later taken to hospital and detained by police while the other two men – one of whom fled to Malaysia – were later found and arrested.
Winai said the suspected bomb specialist was of Middle Eastern descent and 52 years old, but did not release further details.
The other suspect is thought to have rented the house in Ekkamai, east Bangkok, along with an Iranian woman, Rohani Leila, who police now believe is back in Tehran.
Friday’s admission of new suspects emerged as photographs were released of the three Iranians partying with escorts in the resort town of Pattaya, where they had stayed before arriving in Bangkok.
The Bangkok South criminal court has approved arrest warrants for the three Iranians in custody – Moradi, 42-year-old Mohammad Hazaei, who was detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport while trying to flee the country, and Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 27, who has been detained in Kuala Lumpur and is awaiting extradition. A warrant has also been approved for Rohani Leila, who is thought to be in Iran.
Moradi faces charges of attempted murder and possession of explosives, while the other three have been charged with possession of explosives but not with terrorism, the Bangkok Post reported.
It is unlikely that Leila will face arrest because Thailand and Iran do not share an extradition treaty.
Israel has accused Iran of being behind Tuesday’s bombs and of waging a campaign of state terror. Iran in turn has blamed Israel for the recent killings of Iranian atomic scientists and denied responsibility for this week’s incidents in India, Georgia and Thailand.
Following a terror alert from Israel, police have beefed up security in Thailand’s six international airports as well as in Bangkok’s transportation hubs, shopping malls and popular tourist areas such as Khao San Road.
The Guardian can also reveal that police are carrying out building-to-building checks around a Jewish synagogue in Sukhumvit 22, which has had a 24-hour police presence after a Swedish-Lebanese man with alleged links to Hezbollah was detained by police at Suvarnabhumi airport last month.
Authorities later discovered a warehouse filled with nearly four tonnes of urea fertiliser and several gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate. They said then that Thailand appeared to be a staging ground but not the target of an attack.
from Kate Hodal