Triple blasts rock Bangkok; 2 Iranians held
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 00:34
  
Zeenews Bureau

Bangkok: Triple explosions boomed through a busy neighborhood in the Thai capital on Tuesday injuring at least five people, police said.

The injured included the bomber himself who blew off his own legs in the process of throwing a bomb at Thai police that went awry.

A picture posted on Twitter immediately after the explosions, purportedly showed the wounded man laying on a sidewalk strewn with broken glass outside a Thai school, his legs apparently ripped off.

The blast took place near a house in the Ekamai area in central Bangkok, which was believed to have been rented for a month by three Iranians.

Three Iranians are said to be behind the triple attacks, out of which two have been held. The second Iranian was arrested at Bangkok's international airport as he was trying to leave Thailand for Malaysia and the hunt for the third one is still on.

The injured bomber was admitted to Bangkok's Chulalongkorn Hospital for emergency treatment, an official at the hospital said.

The man in question was identified as an Iranian national, named Saeid Moradi as the police recovered an Iranian passport from him.

Thai government has asked the Iranian authorities to confirm his nationality.

"We discovered the injured man's passport. It's an Iranian passport and he entered the country through Phuket and arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport on the 8th of this month," Police General Bansiri Prapapat said.

Surveillance video from after that blast showed separate images of each of the suspects walking down the middle of a residential street. One man wearing a baseball cap and a dark jacket carried a large backpack over one shoulder and what appeared to be two portable transistor radios — one in each hand.

A second suspect wearing sunglasses, a T-shirt, pants and tennis shoes also carried a backpack. The third, dressed in camouflage shorts, carried nothing.

Meanwhile,Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called on people "not to panic" and said the situation was under control.

Three Thai men and one Thai woman wounded in the explosions were taken to Kluaynamthai Hospital, said Dr. Suwinai Busarakamwong.

Local media said traffic had been halted while authorities investigated.

"The police have control of the situation. It is thought that the suspect might be storing more explosives inside his house," government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng told reporters.

The triple explosions come just a day after two bomb attacks targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. Israel has accused Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah of orchestrating the attacks. Iran denied the allegations.

Israel sees Iran link

Accusing Iran of perpetrating yet another heinous attack, Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak said in Singapore, ""The attempted terrorist attack in Bangkok proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror."

"The recent terror attacks are yet another example of this," he added.

Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are "unrelenting terror elements endangering the stability of the region and endangering the stability of the world," said Barak, who was in Bangkok.

Hezbollah is a Shi'ite Islamist group backed by Syria and Iran that is on the official US blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations.

Links with the last month's attack?

Last month, a Lebanese-Swedish man with alleged links to pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants was detained by Thai police. He led authorities to a warehouse filled with more than 8,800 pounds (4,000 kilograms) of urea fertilizer and several gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate.

Israel and the United States at the time warned their citizens to be alert in the capital, but Thai authorities said Thailand appeared to have been a staging ground but not the target of any attack.

Pansiri said that "so far, we haven't found any links between these two cases."

Authorities are trying to trace Moradi's movements, but initial reports indicated he arrived in Thailand from Seoul, South Korea on Feb. 8, Pansiri said. He landed at the southern resort of Phuket, then stayed for several nights in a hotel in Chonburi, a couple hours drive southeast of Bangkok, for several nights.

A bomb disposal unit checked a dark backpack near the spot where Moradi was wounded and police found Iranian currency, US dollars and Thai money in the bag, Pansiri said.

Thailand has rarely been a target for foreign terrorists, although a domestic Muslim insurgency in the country's south has involved bombings of civilian targets.



First Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 15:31


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