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Israelis: Iran Behind Bangkok Bombings, 'Coordinated Attacks' Around the World

Iran promised suspects in ambassador assassination plot $150K, claim Israelis.

ByABC News
February 14, 2012, 10:06 AM

Feb. 14, 2012 — -- The failed bomb attack by an Iranian national in Bangkok today is just the latest in what Israeli officials say is "a coordinated series of attacks" that began in January, and includes Monday's attacks in India and Georgia, as well as a foiled attempt to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in Azerbaijan.

In Tuesday's bombing, an Iranian named Saeid Moradi was in a rented house in downtown Bangkok when a cache of explosives detonated, apparently by accident, taking off a section of the roof.

Thai police say that Moradi, wounded by the explosion, tried to flag down a cab on the street. "He was covered in blood, and the driver refused to take him," said Police General Pansiri Prapawat.

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Moradi then allegedly threw a grenade at the taxi, injuring the driver, and started running. When he tried to hurl a second grenade at police, the bomb bounced off a tree. It exploded near Moradi and took off his legs. Police will interview him as soon as they are able in order to determine what he was plotting to attack.

Four Thai nationals were injured in the explosion. After the incident, Thai police detained a second Iranian national who was attempting to fly from Bangkok to Malaysia. Another Iranian national sought by police was still at large.

Israeli officials told ABC News "we don't know" what Moradi's intended target was "because he was caught."

A spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry has said there is no sign yet that Moradi's alleged targets were Jewish or Israel. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, however, placed the blame on the Iranian government. "The attempted terror attack in Thailand proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to operate in the ways of terror and the latest attacks are an example of that," said Barak

According to Israeli records, one of the most serious of the coordinated wave of attacks came in January, when three Azerbaijani nationals were intercepted before they could attack Israeli ambassador Michael Lotem and a rabbi and a woman at the Chabad center in Baku, the capital. In the 2008 Mumbai attack, terrorists invaded the Chabad center in Mumbai and killed a rabbi, his wife and four hostages.

Israeli officials say that three people have been arrested and they were in direct contact with Iranian intelligence. According to the Israelis, the suspects had been promised 150,000 U.S. dollars on completion of the assassination of the ambassador.

At the homes of the suspects, local police allegedly discovered drawings of the Israeli embassy, information on the Israeli diplomatic vehicles and specific information on the ambassador.

Ambassador Lotem told local media in Azerbaijan Tuesday that Iran's "direct involvement" in both the Indian and Bangkok bombings "is non-disputable."

On Monday, a motorcyclist placed a sticky bomb on a minivan belonging to the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India. Four people were injured in the explosion, including the wife of a diplomat and her driver. A bomb placed on an Israeli car in Tblisi, Georgia failed to detonate and was defused.

In January, Thai police arrested a Lebanese-Swedish national with alleged links to Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese affiliate, who led them to a cache of explosive material. Days prior to the arrest, Israel and the U.S. had both advised travelers to be wary of attacks on areas frequented by foreigners.

State Dept. spokeswoman did not explicitly link Iran to the latest incident in Thailand, but did note the sequence of events. "With regard to this bombing, the incidents in Delhi, incidents in Georgia, while we will await the results of the investigations, 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. "

"The point is that this is not an accident," said Nuland. "We seem to have an uptick in this kind of violence. We're concerned about it. Some of these have been linked to Iran. With regard to these recent ones, we're going to await the results of the investigation, but we are looking at the links."

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Luis Martinez contributed to this report.