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Police in Thailand say three Iranian nationals held in connection with a bomb blast in the Thai capital on Tuesday were plotting to attack Israeli diplomats.
Thai police chief General Prewpan Dhamapong told a local television station that the suspects in the botched plot, which came to light after an apparently unintended explosion at a house in Bangkok, had a specific target.
“I can tell you that the target was specific and aimed at Israeli diplomatic staff,” General Prewpan Dhamapong said in the interview late on Wednesday.
He said that the type of explosive – a homemade “sticky” bomb – found at the blast site on Tuesday matched the devices planted on Israeli diplomatic cars in India and Georgia a day earlier.
“The type of improvised explosives they used were the same. The type that was attached to vehicles,” he said, confirming that an investigation into a magnetic strip found in Bangkok was the same type used in New Delhi.
Thai authorities stepped up security at embassies and tourist areas on Thursday in response to the incident.
Five people, including one of the suspects, were injured in the incident, which began with the accidental explosion of a grenade, police said.
One explosive device first went off in the suspects’ home. Another was thrown at a taxi that would not take one of the men who left the house following the explosion.
The third blew off the man’s leg when he tried to throw it at police and it either went off before he could throw it or it hit something and ricocheted back at him.
The injured man, identified as Saeid Moradi, was in stable condition in a Bangkok hospital, although he remained unconscious after 10 hours of surgery, Suparung Preechayuth, a hospital surgeon, said.
Another Iranian was detained in Bangkok on Tuesday after fleeing the destroyed house, while a third was arrested on Wednesday in neighbouring Malaysia after boarding a flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overnight.
Police were also looking for the woman who originally rented the house.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, accused Iran of targeting diplomats, saying that if the world did not stop Iran’s “aggression”, the attacks would spread.
|Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay reports on the developments following the explosion on Tuesday in Bangkok|
“It harms innocent diplomats in many countries and the nations of the world must condemn Iran’s terror actions and demarcate red lines against Iranian aggression,” he said.
“If such aggression is not stopped it will spread to many countries.”
Iran has denied any involvement in the blasts, saying Israel often made such accusations.
Iranian state TV quoted Ramin Mehmanparast, the country’s foreign ministry spokesman, as saying that Israel was behind the explosions.
“The main goal of the Zionist regime is to conceal its real essence in carrying out terrorist acts particularly assassinating Iran’s scientists,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Mehmanparast as saying.
“We are not accepting, we are denying this and I don’t know how they [the Israelis] can assume within a short time of one hour that to say who has done this,” Iran’s ambassador to India, Seyed Mehdi Nabizadeh, said, referring to the New Delhi attack.
“It has happened in India. If India’s security says something like that, then we have to verify.”
India ‘lacks evidence’
India said it did not have enough evidence to reach a firm conclusion.
“The Indian government does not have any evidence pointing to any individual, entity, organisation or country being involved in Monday’s blast, so far,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.
The attack on an Israeli diplomatic car in the Indian capital left a female diplomat and three other people injured.
Police in Georgia, meanwhile, said they had thwarted on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle on the same day.
Russia has condemned the bomb attacks and called on both countries to investigate but did not accuse Iran or any other country of involvement.
Russia “decisively condemns these attacks by extremists”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“We are convinced there can be no justification for terrorism in all its forms.”