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      Thailand ‘Keystone Cops’ Bombings, Step by Step

      An account of the Iranians in Bangkok’s botched bombings reveals amateurs as the bad guys in a version of Keystone Cops.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 2/15/2012, 7:13 PM

      Bangkok police have retraced the steps of three amateur Iranian terrorists who were at a rented house when their explosives accidentally blew up, setting off a chain reaction tragic-comedy that left one bomber maimed.

      The episode began last week, when 28-year-old Saeid Moradi checked into a central Bangkok hotel, according to the Bangkok Post.

      The Iranian who nearly blew himself up with a boomeranged bomb seemed polite and nice when he checked into a small and old Bangkok hotel. He was carrying a backpack, possibly full of explosives, but he was not checked.

      One hotel worker told the newspaper, "We usually have no idea what the guests bring in.”  He added that Moradi “was good-looking and dressed neatly, as if he was a young entrepreneur. He was also polite and I can't believe that he would be a bomber."

      Moradi then called a friend who arrived at the hotel with luggage, which apparently contained explosives. The two men stayed in their room and rarely came down for meals, except in the evening, when they usually roamed outside the six-story building.

      Moradi re-booked his room on Sunday, and then checked out with his friend the following day.

      The following day, they were at a house that the third terrorist had rented. An apparent “work accident” set off a blast, and bomb squads rushed to the scene while the trio fled in different directions.

      When a taxi failed to stop for Moradi, he threw a bomb at it, but the device missed its target. When police arrived to arrest him, he threw another bomb at them, but it hit a nearby pick-up truck and then rolled back to Moradi and exploded, leaving him lying on the ground with one leg missing and the other badly wounded.

      Meanwhile, investigators found eight pounds of materials for explosives at the two-story house, along with at least one other bomb, and they used a water cannon to defuse it. Police also found two radio receivers in the house.  

      Sources told media in Thailand that it was the first time the bomb-making method had been discovered in the country.

      Moradi was hospitalized and placed under arrest. A security camera at the hotel caught the men on camera, and a second terrorist was arrested at the airport, but the third escaped a police search and managed to fly out to Malaysia, from where all three men had arrived earlier this month.

      Thai officials said they had been warned, apparently by Israel, of a possible attack, but national police chief Phrewphan Damapong told reporters, "There was some warning of a possible attack and police were monitoring, but we did not know where it would happen."

      Meanwhile, security has been stepped up at the Israeli embassy and in an area heavily frequented by Israeli backpackers.