Thai officials say Tuesday's Bangkok blasts were meant for Israeli diplomats
The Iranian suspects in the Bangkok blasts were planning to attack Israeli diplomats, a senior Thai intelligence official said. Earlier blasts in India and Georgia also targeted Israelis this week.
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Based on security camera footage and information from eyewitnesses, Thailand's deputy police chief Pansiri Prapawat said on Thursday, they believe the fifth suspect was also a man of Middle-Eastern appearance. The other suspects have been identified as Iranians, one of them a woman. Two are being held in Thailand, and one has been detained in Malaysia.Skip to next paragraph
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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi said the government should impose more stringent immigration controls to prevent bad guys entering Thailand.
He said the three explosions reflected increasing global tensions, but Thailand had to stand firm in saying that this is not a problem stemming from domestic affairs.
Actually, intelligence authorities were already aware of Iranians operating in Bangkok, according to Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. The incident, however, has Thailand toying with the idea of stepping up immigration measures, comparable with US measures post-Sept 11.
"Iranians have been surveying US and Israeli targets for some time now," said Mr. Panitan, a former government spokesman. "They may have been here on vacation, but they were looking for loopholes in our security."
Days before the Thailand explosion, on Feb. 13, a motorcyclist rode up alongside the car of Israeli embassy staffer Tal Yehoshua-Koren and attached a magnetic “sticky bomb” to the vehicle in an attempt to assassinate the diplomat, according to the Associated Press. The blast injured but did not kill Ms. Yehoshua-Koren. Indian investigators have so far been unwilling to place any blame on Iran, as they continue to gather clues in New Delhi, in an apparent coordination with Israelis.
“We have no information or evidence of any country, organization, entity and individual being involved,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Mr. Sharma told the AFP that terrorism and trade were “separate issues,” stressing that the perpetrators behind Monday’s bomb attack had yet to be established. “I am sure that our investigating agencies will identify and bring to justice the perpetrators,” said Sharma.
Israel said Tehran was responsible for the attack, but Sharma insisted the matter had to be dealt with through the legal process.