BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's police chief said the Iranians who were arrested after accidentally setting off explosives at their rented home in Bangkok were plotting to attack Israeli diplomats, bolstering claims by Israel that the group was part of an Iranian-backed network of terror.
"I can tell you that the target was specific and aimed at Israeli diplomatic staff," police chief Gen. Prewpan Dhamapong told a Thai television station late Wednesday.
He also confirmed that the type of explosive — a homemade "sticky" bomb — found at the blast site Tuesday matched the devices planted on Israeli diplomatic cars in India and Georgia a day earlier.
"The type of improvised explosives they used were the same. The type that was attached to vehicles," he said, confirming that an investigation into a magnetic strip found in Bangkok was the same type used in New Delhi.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the violence, while Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called the allegations baseless and said Israel was trying to damage his country's relations with Thailand and fuel conspiracy theories.
Thailand's government says it is still trying to piece together what happened when a group of three Iranian men accidentally detonated explosives at a home they had rented in Bangkok's busy Sukhumvit Road area a day earlier. Bomb disposal teams combed the Iranians' house again Wednesday looking for more evidence, while security forces were searching for an Iranian woman they said had originally rented it.
Two of the men were detained in Bangkok on Tuesday after fleeing the destroyed house, while a third was arrested Wednesday in neighboring Malaysia after boarding a flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overnight.
Israel has accused Iran of waging a 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 plots this week.