Thai Government Insists Bangkok Blasts Not Terrorism-Related
February 14, 2012
Daniel Schearf | Bangkok
Authorities in Thailand say an Iranian man detonated explosives in Bangkok, damaging a rented house and severely injuring himself and a few bystanders. But the government insists there is no evidence suggesting the man was a terrorist or related to last month’s arrest of a suspected Hezbollah operative and a large amount of explosives.
Authorities say the Iranian national accidentally blew his legs off Tuesday in eastern Bangkok after throwing explosives he was carrying at police.
Government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisang says the man and two other Iranian accomplices had detonated a bomb earlier in their rented house in the Thai capital and were attempting to flee.
“So, one of them was running from the house and called a taxi but taxi did not answer, did not want him to get in. So, he throws the bomb to the taxi and then he ran away and he met police," Thitima explained. "So, he tried to throw another bomb, the third one, to the police but it did not work. He bombed himself. So, he lost his legs.”
A few people nearby were also injured and police are still looking for the accomplices.
Thitima says police believe the Iranian men were making bombs in the house but their intended target was not clear.
Nonetheless, she says Thai intelligence dismissed concerns they might be terrorists.
In January, Thai police arrested a Lebanese man believed to be linked to the terrorist group Hezbollah. He led police to a stockpile of four tons of explosives.
His arrest came as the United States and other embassies issued warnings of a possible terrorist attack in Bangkok.
Thai authorities, some worried about the effect on tourism, denied Bangkok was the intended target and insisted the explosives were meant for export.
The Tuesday Bangkok blasts occurred a day after two bomb attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India.
Israel accused Iran and the Iranian-supported Hezbollah of being behind the attacks while Tehran denies it is responsible.
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