The Bangkok Police said today the three Iranians detained after accidentally setting off explosives in the Thai capital were planning to attack Israeli diplomats.
The allegation came after days of strong accusations by Israel that Iran was behind the botched plot as well as two others in India and the former Soviet republic of Georgia this week. Iran has denied the charges.
Citing the similarity of bombs used in New Delhi and Tbilisi, Thai police Chief Gen. Prewpan Dhamapong said that Thai authorities now “know for certain that (the target) was Israeli diplomats” [AP, 16 February].
On Monday, a bomb tore through an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi, wounding the driver and a diplomat's wife, and an attempt the same day in Tbilisi was also foiled. The alleged plot in Bangkok was discovered Tuesday only by accident, when explosives stored in a house occupied by several Iranian men blew up accidentally.
One of the Iranians, Mohammad Kharzei, was paraded before journalists in Bangkok today. Another suspect, Saeid Moradi, lost his legs when an explosive he was carrying blew up as he fled police in the Bangkok’s busy Sukhumvit Road area. Surveillance video released by police apparently links the suspects, showing them leaving their destroyed house just after the first blast.
The third Iranian, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, was detained in Malaysia and the Malaysian federal police said today he was being investigated for terrorism-related activities linked to the Bangkok blasts.
A Bangkok court has approved arrest warrants for all three suspects, as well as an Iranian woman named Leila Rohani who rented the destroyed house. However, authorities believe Rohani has already left Thailand.
All four now face criminal charges including possession of explosives, attempted murder, attempted murder of a policeman and causing explosions that damaged property.
Source: AP, 16 February 2012
UPDATE (Thu 16 February): Thailand said today that Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, the Iranian national suspected to be involved in the botched bomb plot in Bangkok, will be extradited from Malaysia. Sedaghatzadeh was arrested yesterday by Malaysian police in Kuala Lumpur.