Fourth Iranian Bomber on Loose in Thailand as Prostitute Helps Police
Police in Thailand revealed they are hunting a fourth Iranian man believed to have been part of the failed bomb plot to assassinate Israeli diplomats.
Senior police said a 52-year-old man was caught on CCTV footage several hours before an accidental blast at a Bangkok house which sent three other Iranians fleeing, leading to their capture.
The man was named as Iranian Nikkahfard Javad and, according to Bangkok police commissioner Lt Gen Winai Thongson, may have been given bomb-making training to the captured trio.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Javad and other three are in custody, two in Thailand where one is still in hospital after losing his legs from a grenade he threw at police. The third man was seized by Malaysian immigration authorities.
It also emerged that the trio - Saeid Moradi, 28, Mohammad Khazaei, 42, and Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, 31 - spent five nights in the company of three prostitutes in the notorious beach resort of Pattaya, two hours from Bangkok, before returning to the capital the day before the blasts.
One of the women was brought to Bangkok on Thursday to identify the two suspects in Thai custody. A picture from her mobile phone printed in the Bangkok Post showed the three men, two of them draped over two sex workers in a hookah water-pipe bar, with at least one bottle of beer on the table.
The sex worker, named only as “Nan”, told the newspaper that Khazaei had approached and asked her to escort him around the city because his English was poor. Her friends were asked to join the other two men during their stay.
“Nan” told the newspaper that she had noticed nothing untoward about the men, except when Khazaei had warned her off approaching a closet in his hotel room. She said he seemed stressed at first and declined to eat, though after a time he relaxed and took some food before saying last Monday that they were leaving.
The accidental blast happened on Tuesday afternoon at the house they rented in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area. They fled, with the injured Moradi throwing grenade at a taxi which refused to take him, and another at police which fell short and severed his legs.
Khazaei was detained at Bangkok’s international airport boarding a flight to Malaysia while Zadeh, who made the journey, was seized in Kuala Lumpur.
Thai police confirmed that the men intended to target Israeli diplomats with “sticky” bombs attached to vehicles, similar to devices used against Israeli envoys in New Delhi and Tibilisi on Monday.
Lt Gen Winai said that Javad, the new suspect being hunted, was seen on camera leaving the house several hours before Tuesday’s blast carrying a bag, but he had been captured on tape repeatedly coming and going in the preceding days.
He also said police were looking for another man who rented the house with an Iranian woman, Leila Rohani, who is thought to have escaped to Tehran.