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Bangkok Explosions Update: Photo of Iranian Woman Reportedly Wanted by Police (February 16, 2012)

2012 02 16 bkk post iranian woman

Today’s Bangkok Post reports:

The suspects involved in Tuesday’s multiple bombings in Bangkok were part of the same network of terror involved in bomb incidents in India and Georgia earlier this week, according to Itzhak Shoham, Israeli ambassador to Thailand.

While the target of the bombs was not clear, “we can assume from the other experiences that we were the target,” he said.

And the Post is running the photo, above, of an Iranian woman reportedly wanted by police:

Police investigators yesterday sought court arrest warrants for all three Iranian suspects being held in custody, as well as an Iranian woman, Rohani Leila, who is suspected of having arranged for the rental of the Sukhumvit Soi 71 home.

Elsewhere, Bloomberg reports:

Iranians arrested after blasts on a Bangkok street aimed to attack Israeli diplomats, and the devices used were similar to bombs targeting Israelis in India and Georgia this week, according to Thailand’s police chief.

“The suspects targeted Israeli diplomats in Thailand,” Priewphan Damaphong told reporters in Bangkok yesterday, hours after he confirmed that the Bangkok bombs contained magnets designed to attach to vehicles. India’s initial investigations suggest that a magnetic device was attached to an Israeli diplomat’s car on Feb. 13 in New Delhi seconds before it exploded injuring the woman, the city’s police commissioner, B.K. Gupta, has said.

“The type of explosive device is similar to the incident in India,” Priewphan told reporters in Bangkok. The men “were not targeting a place.”

Meanwhile, the WSJ says:

Some terrorism analysts experts, such as Will Hartley, head of the Terrorism & Insurgency Center at IHS Jane’s, question whether Iran really is behind all of the attacks. He noted that the attacks appeared amateurish and inconsistent with campaigns masterminded by the Iranian military’s elite Quds Force or Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that is supported by Iran.

Others, though, suggest the recent wave of bombings shows that Iran is willing to use any means possible to demonstrate to Israel and the U.S. that it is willing to strike anywhere in the world, even if it means outsourcing attacks to less-experienced operatives.

“This is Iran’s way of responding to pressure,” said Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “These are low-tech, unsophisticated attacks and sometimes poorly executed. But they are designed to show that the reach of Iran and its proxies is increasing….I think we will see further attacks.”

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image: Bangkok Post.)

Bangkok Explosions Update: Iranian Caught in Malaysia (February 15, 2012)

Here’s the latest on Tuesday’s explosions here in Bangkok:

The AP reports:

Israeli officials ramped up accusations Wednesday that Iran was launching covert attack plots, saying “sticky” bombs found in a Thai house rented by Iranians were similar to devices used against Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the violence, while Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called the allegations “baseless” and said Israel was trying to damage his country’s relations with Thailand and fuel “conspiracy” theories.

Thailand’s government was trying to determine what three Iranian men were plotting when a cache of explosives detonated accidentally in their home in Bangkok’s busy Sukhumvit Road area a day earlier. Bomb disposal teams combed the Iranians’ house again Wednesday looking for more evidence, while security forces were searching for an Iranian woman they said had originally rented it.

Two of the men were detained in Bangkok on Tuesday after fleeing the destroyed house, while a third was arrested Wednesday in neighboring Malaysia after boarding a flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overnight.

Israel has accused Iran of waging a campaign of state terror and has threatened military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran has blamed the Jewish state for the recent killings of Iranian atomic scientists and has denied responsibility for all three plots this week.

Meanwhile, the New York Times says:

Thai authorities said on Wednesday that the group of Iranians detained after an explosion tore the roof off their rented house was on a mission here targeting Israeli diplomats.

“This much I can tell you — the target of the operation was specifically the Israeli diplomatic staff,” Gen. Prewpan Dhamapong, Thailand’s chief of police, said in a television interview.

(All emphasis mine.)

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.

Bangkok Explosions Update: More Details on Injured Man

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

2012 02 14 bangkok explosions

Another update on the Bangkok explosions story:

Reuters says:

A man thought to be an Iranian was seriously wounded in Bangkok on Tuesday when a bomb he was carrying exploded and blew both his legs off, police and a government spokeswoman said.

The Bangkok Post reports:

An Iranian man was severely injured when he threw a bomb at police that hit a tree and bounced back towards him and exploded in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon, reports said.

Two bombs went off on Sukhumvit 71 road, injuring five people, including an Iranian man, the reports said.

According to a television news report, an Iranian man carrying a black bag hurled the first bomb at a taxi after the driver refused to accept him as a passenger. The cab driver was among the injured, reports said.

When police arrived at the scene, the foreigner then threw a second bomb at them, but it hit a tree and bounced back towards him and exploded. He lost both of his legs in the blast, the report said.

I suggest the AP story I mentioned earlier for a good roundup of the information available at this point.

Following the news

For future updates, I suggest a Google News search.

You can also consult The Nation and The Bangkok Post.

And here’s my 69-member Bangkok journalists Twitter list.

The hash tag appears to be #bkkblasts.

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

Previous posts on this topic are here and here. I’ve created a tag called Bangkok explosion.

(Image: The Telegraph.)

AP Quoting Thai Police: 2 Explosions; Unclear if Fatalities

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

Quick update to my previous post about the Bangkok explosion explosions today: The AP is reporting:

Police in Thailand say two explosions have occurred in a Bangkok neighborhood. 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 outside a Thai school, his legs apparently ripped off in one of the explosions.

Police Col. Sittiphab Baiprasert told The Associated Press the blasts Tuesday occurred about 100 yards (meters) apart on Sukhumvit 71, a busy multilane thoroughfare that is home to businesses and apartment blocks.

Update: A longer AP story says:

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 the man may have been of Iranian decent. It was not possible to independently confirm those reports, however.

(All emphasis mine.)

Thai media: Bangkok Explosion Injures Foreign Man

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

Many details are still unclear, but Thai media is reporting than an explosion on Sukhumvit Soi 71 at about 2 p.m. Bangkok time has injured a foreign man.

The Bangkok Post reports:

A bomb exploded in front of a school on Sukhumvit road on Tuesday afternoon, wounding a foreigner and damaging a telephone booth.

Klongton Police said the explosion took place around 2pm outside Kasempithaya School. The injured foreigner lost both of his legs in the blast.

Witnesses told investigators that an unidentified man hurled a bomb into a phone booth and then fled.

Police were investigating and had temporarily closed down Klong Ton and Phra Khanong intersections.

The Nation says:

Three foreigners were injured in an explosion on Soi Sukhumvit 71 Tuesday afternoon.

The explosion occurred at 2 pm in front of the Kasem Pitthaya School.

One of the foreigners lost his legs.

MCOT says:

Bomb explodes in Bangkok’s Soi Preedeepanomyong 35, Lebanese man injured by self-inflicted wound; bomb squad unit defusing another bomb in nearby area

Richard Barrow has been been compiling reports and posting photos on Twitter: @RichardBarrow.

I’ll provide more info when it’s available.

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