Author Topic: Security tightened at Israeli Embassy in Thailand  (Read 593 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Security tightened at Israeli Embassy in Thailand
« on: February 17, 2012, 04:03:45 PM »
Security tightened at Israeli Embassy in Thailand

BANGKOK - Heavy security has been provided for the Israeli embassy - set in a tall building in central Bangkok - in addition to all international airports, following three explosions on Tuesday reportedly part of an operation to target Israel's diplomats and interests in Thailand.

Fourteen countries, including Israel and the United States, have issued travel advisories urging their nationals against entering or travelling in Thailand. Foreign Minister Surapong Towijakchaikul said that the warnings should not be in effect for long, because "most suspects" had been arrested.

An academic on international security, Theeranan Nanthakhwang, said the three suspects were possibly preparing to target or kill Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak who was scheduled to visit Thailand yesterday, but cancelled the trip. Barak had planned to stay overnight and attend a musical event organised by the Israeli Embassy at CentralWorld. Theeranan said Barak was a potential target given his VIP status as an Israeli cabinet member.

National Police chief Pol General Priewpan Damapong remained unclear about the objectives of the bombers, saying on one occasion that Israel was the target of the attack by the Iranians. But, playing it safe in another interview, he asked reporters not to "mention the nationality of the suspects" saying: "We don't know what was on the suspects' mind or whom they wanted to target."

He said an Iranian woman, Rohanni Laila, who was wanted on an arrest warrant, was possibly an occupant of the house, located off Soi Pridi Banonyong 36, but not an assailant. Police said explosives had been stored in the building and their detonation touched off Tuesday's incidents.

Immigration Police commander Pol LtGeneral Wibool Bangthamai said Laila is believed to have left Thailand and is now in Iran. As there is no extradition deal between Thailand and Iran, authorities are unlikely to get her back to this country.

"There is no problem taking action against the three male suspects because there is security camera footage implicating them. Laila [however] was merely helping them rent the house," he said.

Asked why Thailand could have been chosen for an attack on Israeli interests, Priewpan said: "I cannot really tell you about it and please refrain from pointing out which country could be behind the incidents, as it would be damaging."

Asked about another four foreigners possibly involved in the operation, the police chief said: "There is a parallel investigation underway."

Priewpan said Mohammad Hazaei, 42, a suspect caught at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday, had been stressed out, but had now agreed to eat. Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 27, another suspect now in Malaysian police custody, could be handed over to Thai authorities if they requested it after a 14day detention. The third man, Saeid Moradi, who lost his legs in the explosions, is in Chulalongkorn Hospital after undergoing extensive surgery.

US ambassador Kristie Kenney yesterday met Supreme Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn to discuss a number of undisclosed issues. Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler declined comment on the issue regarding which country the US believed was behind the incidents.

Immigration police are tracking and watching about 20 male foreigners, reportedly Lebanese and Iranian nationals, based in Chiang Mai. A senior commander, Pol LtGeneral Suthep Dejraksa, said there had been no cause for concern or indication of irregularities following Tuesday's disturbance.

UNCTAD secretarygeneral Supachai Panitchpakdi has called for heightened security and stricter verification of foreign arrivals' information at airports and during the immigration process. He said the blasts in Bangkok had not affected Thailand's economy or its tourism.

The Chinese consular office in Chiang Mai denied it had warned Chinese nationals from visiting Chiang Mai, saying that it was merely an advice asking Chinese tourists to stay alert to possible threats.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a spate of blasts in India and Thailand had exposed Iran's "terrorist activities".

"Nations of the world must condemn these incidents and draw a red line against this Iranian aggression," he added.