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Iranians said to target Israelis

Thai police cite 3 in bomb plot

BANGKOK - Three Iranians detained after accidentally setting off explosives in Bangkok were planning to attack Israeli diplomats, Thailand’s top policeman said yesterday in the first confirmation by local officials that the group plotted attacks in Thailand.

Israel has strongly accused Iran of being behind the botched plot, a bombing in India and an attempted bombing in the former Soviet republic of Georgia this week, which Iran has denied.

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Citing the similarity of bombs used in New Delhi and Tbilisi, national police chief General Prewpan Dhamapong said that Thai authorities now “know for certain that [the target] was Israeli diplomats.’’

“This issue was about individuals and the targets were specific,’’ he said. “This was something personal.’’

Israel has accused Iran of waging a covert campaign of state terror and has threatened military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran has blamed the Jewish state for the recent killings of Iranian atomic scientists and has denied responsibility for all three bomb plots. The explosion Monday in New Delhi tore through an Israeli diplomatic vehicle, wounding the driver and a diplomat’s wife, and an attempt was foiled the same day in Georgia.

Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: “It’s clearer to more and more of the world that Iran, which is a veteran sponsor of terror, is trying to raise the bar even more, trying to harm diplomats.’’

Israel’s UN ambassador said yesterday that the Security Council should condemn the attacks quickly.

“Israel expects it to issue a clear condemnation today, without any further delay or equivocation,’’ Ambassador Ron Prosor said in a letter distributed by the Israeli mission.

“This campaign bears the unmistakable fingerprints of the Iranian regime and the highest echelons of the Hezbollah leadership,’’ his letter said.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the Iranian-backed group had no part in the Thailand plot, bombing in India, or attempted bombing in Georgia.

Nasrallah gave a speech yesterday to mark the 2008 death of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah military commander.

There had been speculation that the attacks could be revenge for the death of Mughniyeh, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus. Hezbollah and its primary patron, Iran, have blamed Israel for Mughniyeh’s killing.

Israel has denied involvement.

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