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Thailand Manhunt for Iranian 'Bomb Expert'

Thai police are searching for two more Iranians - one an explosives expert - involved in Monday's bombing that targeted Israeli diplomats
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/17/2012, 2:07 PM

Thai police Friday said they are searching for two more suspects - including an explosives expert - as their inquiry into a botched bombing plot targeting Israeli diplomats expands.

Police already have three Iranian nationals in custody. Two were arrested in Bangkok, while a third who fled Thailand was arrested by authorities in Malaysia.

They identified Saeed Moradi, 28, whose legs were severed by a bomb he held; Muhammad Kzaye, 42, arrested at an airport in Bangkok as he departed the country; and Massoud Sdgttzda, 31, arrested Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur.

Police say they will be charged with conspiracy to commit terror, unauthorized possession of explosives, and causing an explosion in which others were injured. Moradi also faces charges of attempted murder of on duty state officials.

Bangkok police commissioner Winai Thongson said police believe one of the suspects who remain at large was providing training in the use of explosives.

Thongson identified one of the suspects as Iranian national Nikkhahfard Javad, 52. He said Javad was caught on CCTV cameras as he left the safe house used by the Iranians.

The roof of the residence was blown off after a cache of explosives detonated accidentally, forcing the suspects to abandon the hideout.

Officials in Bangkok say the bombers were targeting Israeli diplomats, including the Israeli ambassador, but denied reports that said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was the prime target.

Thailand police chief Priewpan Damapong said Barak was scheduled to change planes in Thailand on Wednesday, but cancelled the plan following Tuesday's bombing. Barak made a surprise visit to the Singapore airshow on Wednesday.

The Kuwait-based daily Al-Jarida reported an assassination attempt by Hizbullah and Iran in Singapore was averted by the Mossad and Singaporean police. Officials in Jerusalem and Singapore denied the report.

However, Thai authorities have stepped up security at the country''s six international airports which could become possible new targets for acts of sabotage following a terror warning by Israel.

The botched Bangkok bombings came one day after terrorists in India and Georgia targeted Israeli diplomats.

In Dehli, a car bomb seriously wounded the wife of Israel's defense attaché to India, her driver and two other local residents, while police in Tbilisi averted catastrophe when they disarmed a bomb on an Israeli diplomat's vehicle.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has blamed Iran for the attacks saying Tehran has shown its "true face," while Israel's UN envoy Ron Prosor lodged a formal complaint against Iran with United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon.