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16 Feb, 2012 20:40

Thai police: Iranians were hunting down Israeli diplomats

The Iranians who accidentally set off two bombs in Bangkok on Tuesday were conspiring to assassinate Israeli diplomats, say Thai police. Israel connects the incident with recent attempts on the lives of Israeli envoys in Tbilisi and Delhi.

Two Iranians were detained at a busy thoroughfare in Bangkok after fleeing a house that was destroyed as an improvised explosive device accidentally detonated. Another explosion tore the legs off of one of them as he tried to escape. A third man was arrested the following day in Malaysia attempting to catch a flight to Tehran. "Their target was individuals who are Israeli diplomats, not Thais," Police Chief Prewpan Dhamapong told reporters on Thursday. Israel said that the “sticky bombs” found at the scene were similar to those used in India and Georgia. On Monday, a blast tore through an Israeli diplomatic vehicle, wounding the driver and a diplomat’s wife in New Delhi. Several hours later, a magnetic bomb was found attached to an Israeli diplomatic car in the Georgian capital.“We can assume that there is the same network of terror,” declared Israeli Ambassador to Thailand, Itzhak Shoham. The Thai police are still interrogating the detained Iranians, trying to determine if they are part of a larger insurgency group. A search is on for other suspects: a man and an Iranian woman who rented the house and a 52-year-old man, who visited the house and may have trained those arrested in the use of explosives.Israel now accuses Iran of waging a campaign of “state terror.” "If this aggression isn't halted, ultimately it will spread to many other countries," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Israel's parliament on Wednesday.Iran denies any involvement in the incidents. But experts say it's Tehran’s retaliation for the killings of at least four Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years, in attacks believed to have been carried out by or for Israel's intelligence services. Given the Iranian leadership's long-standing hostility, Israel is concerned with the Iranian nuclear program. While Iran insists it is simply developing civilian power generation, Israel believes Tehran is seeking to build nuclear weapons. Some reports suggest Israel may be preparing an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities soon.