Bangkok blast suspects 'targeting Israeli diplomats'

image captionThai police paraded suspect Mohammad Khazaei before the media

A group of Iranians detained after explosions in Thailand's capital Bangkok were intending to target two Israeli diplomats, Thai police say.

There were no further details of the individual targets, but planning was said to be at an advanced stage.

Officials have linked Tuesday's Bangkok blasts to attacks on Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India on Monday.

Israel has accused Tehran of being behind all three attacks. Tehran has denied any involvement.

Two men are in custody in Bangkok over Tuesday's explosions, a third man was arrested in Malaysia trying to board a flight to Iran, and a fourth suspect is still at large, believed by immigration officials to be back in Iran.

"Their targets were individuals, Israeli diplomats, not the Thai people," said national police chief Priewpan Damapong.

There had been widespread speculation of a plot aiming at Israelis, but Mr Priewpan is the first Thai official elaborate on the target.

He said the suspects are likely to be charged with possession of explosive devices and attempted murder.

The suspects were named as:

  • Saeid Moradi, 28, who lost both legs after being caught in accidental explosions
  • Mohammad Khazaei, 42, who was paraded before journalists in Bangkok on Thursday
  • Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 31, who fled to Malaysia and is now facing extradition back to Thailand
  • Leila Rohani, who rented the Bangkok house where the suspects lived; immigration officials say she has fled to Tehran.

The alarm was raised when an explosion ripped the roof of their house, in central Bangkok.

Mr Sedaghatzadeh and Mr Khazaei managed to flee the house after the explosion, but Mr Moradi was injured and tried to catch a taxi.

When the taxi refused to stop for him, he threw at least one bomb at it, according to police.

He was later cornered by police and attempted to throw a bomb at them. However, he seriously injured himself with the device, and lost both of his legs.

Four other people were injured in the incident.

The Bangkok blasts came a day after two attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia.

An Israeli diplomat was injured in the Delhi attack, after a motorcycle rider attached an explosive device to her car.

Around the same time a bomb beneath an Israeli diplomat's car in Tbilisi, Georgia, was found and defused.

Thai police said the devices they found were similar to the ones used in Delhi and Georgia.

And Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the Iranian regime was behind all three attacks, in league with Lebanon's Islamist militant group Hezbollah.

Several suspected members of Hezbollah were arrested last month in Bangkok, though police have not publicly linked them to the detained Iranians.

Tehran officials have accused Israel of staging the attacks as part of a "psychological war" aimed at deflecting attention from what they say are Israeli killings of nuclear scientists in Iran.

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