Police: Iranian Man Blows Off Legs In Bangkok Blast

Posted February 14th, 2012 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Thai authorities say an Iranian man carrying a bomb blew off his own legs and wounded four other people in three successive blasts Tuesday in Bangkok.

Government officials say the first blast went off at a house rented by the man in the central part of the Thai capital. It was shortly followed by the man throwing a bomb at a taxi that refused to stop and later trying to hurl a grenade at police on a busy road near a school.

National Police Chief Priewpan Damapong said the bomb seems to have been designed to harm people and not places.

“Judging from the design of the bomb, the target should be people and not places. The bomb is magnetic and can be stuck to a vehicle. It can harm people, but not places.”

Thai authorities say they later arrested another Iranian man at Bangkok's international airport, who they say could be involved in Tuesday's incident.

Immigration Bureau Chief Wiboon Bangthamai said the two two Iranians arrived in Thailand on February 8.

The United States condemned the attacks and offered condolences to the injured people. A spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said the Thai police are still investigating the details, but noted that the attack in Bangkok, as well as the previous ones in India and Georgia, come on the heels of disrupted attacks on Israeli and Western targets.

“These events do come on the heels of other disrupted attacks targeted at Israel and Western interests, including an Iranian-sponsored attack in Baku, Azerbaijan, and a Hezbollah-linked attack in Bangkok, Thailand, before this. So they serve as a reminder that a variety of states and non-state actors continue to view international terrorism as a legitimate foreign policy tool, which we consider reprehensible.”

The blasts come a day after twin bomb attacks targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. Israel accused Tehran and the Iranian-backed Islamist group Hezbollah of being behind those attacks. And Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Iran for Tuesday's bomb blasts in Bangkok.

Thai authorities say it is unclear if the incidents are linked.

Authorities found more explosives in the attacker's house, as well as an Iranian passport.

Thai citizens have been on alert since last month when Thai police, acting on a U.S. warning, arrested a Lebanese man on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack in tourist areas in Bangkok. The man, who allegedly had links to Hezbollah, led police to a warehouse filled with chemicals that could be used to make a bomb.

Terrorist attacks are generally rare in Bangkok, which is popular with foreign tourists for its beaches and nightlife.

The United States issued a warning to its citizens in Thailand following Tuesday's incident urging them to maintain a “heightened awareness when in public.”