Bombs in Bangkok; Police believe Iranian nationals behind bombsBy Bangkok Pundit Feb 14, 2012 6:23PM UTC
A police forensics team was examining the house and reports said that police used a high pressure water cannon to defuse another explosive found there.
An Iranian man carrying explosives blew off his own legs and wounded four other people in two blasts Tuesday in Bangkok, Thai authorities said.
Security forces found more explosives in the assailant’s rented house in the capital, but any potential targets are unknown, Police Gen. Pansiri Prapawat said.
Reuters with details of the injured Iranian national:
“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 told Reuters.
Jerusalem Post on the Israeli government view:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said that a series of bomb blasts that struck Thailand on Tuesday was part of an attempted terrorist attack perpetrated by Iran.
“The attempted terror attack in Thailand proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to operate in the ways of terror and the latest attacks are an example of that,” Barak said while on a state visit to Singapore
BP: Now, there are two suspects in custody. What will they say?
19:45 Below is an image showing the locations of the 3 explosions:
19:10 Tulsathit of The Nation tweets “[p]olice reportedly found lots of explosives at the rented house. An intel source: I wouldn’t rule out suspects having terrorism links.”
19:05 The LA Times has details of the attacks targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia:
Israel is believed by many to have initiated a covert assassination campaign to slow down Iran’s nuclear-development program, which Israel fears will be used to build nuclear weapons that one day will be used against it. Iran insists its nuclear program is meant for civilian energy purposes only.
To maintain credibility with allies and the Iranian public, analysts say, Iran needs to retaliate for the attacks on its scientists, which it blames on Israel. But closing the Strait of Hormuz or attacking Tel Aviv would be too risky, Rabi said. Even encouraging Hezbollah to resume rocket fire against Israel might lead to a destructive regional war, as it did in 2006.
The New Delhi blast injured Tal Yehoshua Koren, wife of a security official, moments after she dropped off her children.
Amateur video taken outside the embassy showed a Toyota Innova with Israeli diplomatic license plates in flames. The blast also ignited a car behind the Innova, slightly injuring two people.
Police commissioner B.K. Gupta, citing eyewitnesses, said a device was planted by a man on a motorcycle. The victim was hospitalized in stable condition, he said.
In Georgia, a messenger for the Israeli Embassy notified security officials after noticing a suspicious object under his car. A bomb was safely defused with no injuries.
Israel’s diplomatic missions around the world already were on heightened alert because of the Feb. 12 anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh. The group blamed Israel for Mughniyeh’s 2008 killing and repeatedly has vowed to retaliate.
Analysts said the amateurish nature of the India operation — failing to include enough explosives to prove lethal and targeting a diplomat’s wife — suggested it was outsourced to groups that lacked expertise or that it was merely meant as a warning.
BP: Given the bomb went off in the house they were at, can’t one also says those in Bangkok were amateurs?Then, to go to the airport straight away and get caught, shows they didn’t have a good escape plan……
18:50 New York Times has some additional details particularly about the person who is hospitalized:
Among the man’s belongings, police found a receipt from a hotel in the Thai city of Chonburi, Colonel Varavudh said. “The man put his nationality as Iranian when he checked into the hotel,” he said.
Police also found Iranian currency in the man’s wallet.
Thai police did not immediately reveal the man’s identity. He and two other foreigners rented and occupied the house for the past several weeks, said a housecleaner, Laxme Kondan, 35, who lives on the same street.
Ms. Laxme Kondan said she heard an explosion and ran to the house to see what had happened.
“I saw two men wearing shorts and no shoes running out of the house,” she said. “Five minutes later I saw another man run out with blood on his face.
Wichai Tiwaree, 44, who works in an import-export company on the street where the blast occurred, was riding a motorcycle soon after the first explosion and said he saw “a guy walking in a very unusual way.”
“I saw blooding coming out of his ears,” Mr. Wichai said.
“I heard an explosion and saw the man running up the street. People were yelling, ‘Get him! Get him!”
BP: BP has heard similar reports on Thai TV.
18:45 According to a Bangkok Post journalist “[a] Metropolitan source said one Iranian suspected of involiving in the bombs in Sukhumvit 71 was arrested at the airport” (source).
18:25 It was only last month that the US Embassy issued a travel warning for Thailand which coincided with the detaining of a Lebanese man, who authorities believe was connected to Hezbollah.
BP: Photo slideshow from the Bangkok Post is here.
Thai police said a foreign man was critically injured as he threw grenades in a bid to escape after a blast at his rented house in the capital.
“Five people are injured, including the attacker, who lost his legs,” Prawut Thavornsiri, a police spokesman, said by phone. He could not confirm the nationality of the attacker, only saying he was “not Thai.” He used M-26 grenades in the attack, Prawut said.
Pisit Pisuttisak, a police commander, told the Nation Channel television network today that the attacker was Iranian, without saying how he got the information. Police are searching for two other suspects who rented the house with the attacker, he said.
BP: If true, they sound well-prepared…..
h/t to Newley
18:00 The UK has updated their travel advice for Thailand and it now includes the following:
We are aware of reports of an explosion at Soi 71, sub Soi 35 (known as Soi Preedee 35) in the Ekamai district of central Bangkok during the afternoon of 14 February. Initial reports indicate that four people were injured and have been taken to hospital. You should remain vigilant, follow the advice of Thai authorities and monitor the local news.
Shortly before, there had been an explosion in a house the man was renting in the Ekamai area of central Bangkok, government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng told reporters.
A taxi driver told Thai television the man had then thrown a bomb in front of his car before running off, injuring him slightly.
Thitima said police had tried to move in and arrest the man after blast by the taxi but he attempted to throw another bomb at them. However, it went off before he was able to do that, blowing one leg off and wounding the other.
“The police have control of the situation. It is thought that the suspect might be storing more explosives inside his house,” Thitima said, adding that, according to an initial police report, the man was thought to be Iranian.
The blasts came a day after a twin bomb attacks targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia. Israel accused arch-enemies Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind those attacks.
Iran denied involvement in the New Delhi and Tbilisi bombs.
The Bangkok explosions were not near the capital’s main area for embassies.
BP: Although, from the news reports it seems that the 1st bomb exploded prematurely – one assumes they weren’t planning to blow themselves up – so it doesn’t mean that because the bombs didn’t go off near an embassy that an embassy was not the planned target. One of the perpetrators has lost both legs, but from reports is still alive. If so, one could imagine, if he is really Iranian, that both the Americans and Israelis would be very interested in talking to him.
h/t to Richard Barrow for details about UK travel advice
– Original post below
Two explosions boomed through a busy neighborhood in the Thai capital Tuesday, police said, but it was not immediately clear what caused the blasts or whether there were any fatalities.
A picture posted on Twitter purportedly showed a wounded man laying on a sidewalk strewn with broken glass outside a Thai school, his legs apparently ripped off in one of the explosions
Several Thai television stations reported the wounded man was carrying explosives at the time. They said an identification card found in a satchel nearby indicated he may be of Iranian descent. The reports could not immediately be confirmed, however.
Police Col. Sittiphab Baiprasert told The Associated Press the blasts occurred about 100 yards (meters) apart on Sukhumvit Soi 71, a multilane thoroughfare with businesses and apartment blocks. He gave no other details.
Local media said traffic had been halted while authorities investigated.
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.
Last month, a foreign suspect with alleged links to Hezbollah militants led Thai police 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 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.
On Monday, bombs targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. The attack in India wounded four people. Israel blamed that attack on Iran or its proxies, claims Iran denied.
BP: More soon, but TV reports say 3 explosions. From ThaiPBS news just after 5 pm.
1st Explosion at house at No. 66 Soi Pridi Bhanomyong 31, on Sukhumvit 71.
2st explosion on Soi Pridi Bhanomyong 31 (50 cm deep crater). Police expect that taxi refused to pick up one of those who were escaping the house and that one of the suspects threw the bomb. Photo of taxi.
3rd explosion in front of Kasem Pittaya school, which is not far away from the first 2 explosions. Police state that the explosion was because a good citizen pointed out a person to the police. As he was aware that the police were after him, police say he tried to throw an item but it didn’t go far enough and exploded causing one of the perpetrators to lose both legs.
BP: ThaiPBS quote police as saying there are looking for 2 other suspects, from the rental house at the 1st explosion. 2 persons ran out of house, then 10 minutes later 1 more person left – he was injured. ThaiPBS say according to police there were other objects found inside the rental house have the appearance of being bombs.