Israel notes similarities in multiple bombings

By Joel Greenberg, The Washington Post
Posted Feb. 15, 2012, at 9:03 p.m.

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials said Wednesday that magnetic explosive devices found after a series of explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday were similar to bombs used a day earlier to target Israeli diplomats in New Delhi and in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The officials, citing findings of local investigations, said the forensic evidence buttressed earlier Israeli assertions that Iran was behind the attacks. Iran, which had threatened to retaliate for the killings of several of its nuclear scientists in similar bombings, has denied any involvement in the explosions, calling them Israeli provocations.

Indian and Thai authorities have said they still do not have evidence that would indicate who was responsible for the blasts. Officials in Georgia have not commented on who might have been behind the bombing attempt there.

But an Israeli official familiar with the probes of the incidents, in which Israelis are working with local investigators in New Delhi, Bangkok and Tbilisi, said their findings showed a strong similarity between the bombs in the three locations.

“It looks like it’s exactly the same kind of device,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject. He said that the way the devices were assembled, their electronic elements and other findings pointed to “an Iranian connection.” He did not elaborate.

Authorities in Thailand said that their search of a house in Bangkok that had been wrecked by an explosion Tuesday uncovered magnetic explosive devices with a destruction capacity aimed at individuals, not large crowds or buildings, according to wire service accounts.

Thai police arrested two of three Iranian men who fled the house after the blast. One man lost a leg when he hurled a grenade at police, and the second was detained as he tried to board a flight to Malaysia. The third was arrested in Malaysia on Wednesday.

In the attack in New Delhi on Monday, a magnetic bomb was slapped onto an Israeli diplomatic vehicle by a passing motorcyclist. It detonated, wounding the driver and the passenger, an embassy employee who is married to an Israeli defense envoy.

In Tbilisi, a similar device was found attached to the underside of a car belonging to a driver who works at the Israeli Embassy. It was safely defused.

The attacks were strikingly reminiscent of the bombings — also featuring the use of magnetic devices — that have killed several Iranian scientists.

In remarks carried by Iran’s news agency, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast accused Israel of orchestrating the string of explosions this week “to conceal its real essence in carrying out terrorist acts, particularly assassinating Iran’s scientists.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who convened his security cabinet to discuss the recent blasts, said that they had “exposed Iran’s terrorist acts for all to see.”

“Iran undermines stability in the world, harms innocent diplomats in many countries, and the nations of the world must condemn the Iranian terror actions and draw red lines against the Iranian aggression,” Netanyahu said. “If such aggression is not stopped, it will spread to many countries.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/15/news/world-news/israel-notes-similarities-in-multiple-bombings/ printed on July 22, 2014