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Thai Police Arrest Second Iranian After Bangkok Blasts

Thai police arrested another Iranian man they say is connected to twin bomb attacks in Bangkok; a third Iranian remains at large.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/14/2012, 9:39 PM

Thai police on Tuesday arrested an Iranian man suspected of involvement in a twin bombing in Bangkok at Suvarnabhumi airport.

The man, identified as Mohummad Hazaei, 42, holds an Iranian passport, Metropolitan Police chief Winai Thongsong said.

Hazaei was due to board an Air Asia flight to Malaysia at 6:20pm local time. He has refused to cooperate with police and asked for a translator, officials say.

The two bombs were intended for "foreign nationals" in Thailand, national police chief Priewpan Damapong told reporters. He did not elaborate, but said only that the targets were not Thais.

Priewpan said investigators determined Hazaei arrived in Thailand on February 8, on the same flight as Moradi and another suspect who remains at large. The three came from Malaysia and landed in Phuket.

The blasts injured five people, including a bomb suspect carrying an Iranian passport who blew off his own legs. He was identified as Saeid Moradi, 28, from Iran.

Three bystanders, also injured in the explosions, were identified as Apichart Khamlue, 33, Kangwal Horprasartthong, 80, and Suthathip Sajjadamrong, 62.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak, making a state visit to Singapore, blamed the series of explosions on Iran.

"The attempted terror attack in Thailand proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to operate in the ways of terror and the latest attacks are an example of that," Barak said.

The incident came one day after twin attacks on Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India. Israel pointed the finger at Iran for the attacks, but Teheran denied responsibility.

Foreign Ministry officials, however, said Israel was in contact with Bangkok authorities and was awaiting confirmation that the man involved in the blasts was indeed Iranian.

Analysts say that the man who lost his leg while en route to make his attack being Iranian lends credence to Israel's assertion Iran is waging an international terror campaign against the Jewish state.

However the botched Bangkok bombings lacked the sophistication one would expect from Hizbullah or Iran's cover foreign action Quds force, though proxies could have been employed.

Sources close to the investigation of yesterday's bombing in Delhi say police suspect Iran used local terrorists rather than their own operatives to carry out the attack – but added the bomb was made by “foreign experts.”

While officials in Delhi have yet to level accusations at any nation or group, they say, should Iran be behind the blasts, that there will be consequences.

Officials in Bangkok refused to comment further on their investigation, but did say Israeli security officials are being kept closely apprised of developments.