Bangkok Explosions: Roundup of News Coverage (February 15, 2012)

Note: for the latest details on this story, see the Bangkok explosion tag.

2012 02 15 bangkok blasts bkk post

Above is a snapshot of the front page of today’s Bangkok Post. There are stories on the blasts are here and here.

2012 02 15 bkk post

The second article features the images above, allegedly of the three suspects.

Meanwhile, the WSJ says:

A suspected terrorist plot in Thailand’s capital went awry Tuesday as three apparently premature explosions tore through a bustling neighborhood, wounding four bystanders and blowing off the legs of a man police suspect was an Iranian assailant.

The explosions came amid rising tensions between Iran and Israel after a bomb attack on Israeli diplomats in India on Monday and a failed attempt on an Israeli target in Georgia. The blasts also followed an incident in Thailand last month in which police said they uncovered a haul of explosives material linked to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group.

The NYT reports:

While it was possible the men were simply arms smugglers, drug traffickers or gangsters in a city known as a hub of illicit activity, their reported nationalities raised suspicions that the trio was part of what Israel has called a terrorist campaign by Iran and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah aimed at Israeli targets, an accusation that Iran and Hezbollah have denied.

Elsewhere, Joshua Kurlantzick at the Council on Foreign Relations’ Asia Unbound blog looks at Thailand vulnerability to terrorism:

Why is Thailand so vulnerable? For years, Thai authorities took a notably relaxed attitude toward militants passing through the country. Tourism is a major source of income in the kingdom, so travel warnings are crushing; and the Thai security forces were hoping that, as several Thai officials privately told me, bad guys enjoyed their time in the kingdom so much that they would not ruin it by launching attacks inside the country — even if they used Thailand as a base for plots elsewhere, as prominent Al Qaeda member Hambali apparently did (some Thai intelligence figures discarded this theory long ago, but it remained central to government thinking for years). After all, despite lax security, Thailand has an excellent financial infrastructure, including many discreet money-sending shops, and air connections all over the world.

ABC News’s The Note blog reports:

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the explosions in Thailand today. Though she never offered a direct link, she drew a parallel between the blasts in Bangkok and the attacks on Israeli officials in India and Georgia, which Israel has blamed on Iran.

And a recent story today from the AP says:

Two Iranian suspects arrested in Bangkok after three explosions hit the city were likely planning to attack individuals but did not have the capacity to target large crowds or buildings, Thai police said Wednesday.

A day after the blasts in a residential Bangkok neighborhood, Thai authorities admitted to being caught by surprise and said they had little information about who the alleged attackers were and their possible targets.

National Security Council chief Wichean Potephosree told reporters authorities had not determined if there was any link between Tuesday’s explosions in Bangkok and one in New Delhi a day earlier. Israel has blamed both on Iran.

“We haven’t found any links but we are still investigating,” he said.

Reminder: Past posts on this topic can be found by clicking the Bangkok explosion tag.

You can follow me on Twitter for updates: @newley.

And here’s my list of Bangkok journalists on Twitter.

Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. Join the growing group of readers who get my weekly email newsletter.

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