Delhi, Bangkok blasts linked - police

NEW DELHI Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:25pm IST

1 of 2. People examine a damaged Israeli embassy car after an explosion in New Delhi February 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Parivartan Sharma/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The police have established a link between a bomb that wounded an Israeli diplomat's wife in New Delhi and a fumbled bomb plot in Thailand, the city's police chief said on Friday, adding that arrest warrants had been issued for three Iranians.

New Delhi police said one of the three suspects had been in touch with Sedaghatzadeh Masoud, an Iranian man arrested in Malaysia last month in connection with blasts in Bangkok.

"Houshang Afshar Irani, who had come twice to Delhi, was in touch with Sedaghatzadeh Masoud, thus establishing his links with the terror module that executed the terror acts in Bangkok," police chief Brijesh Gupta told reporters.

Gupta said the three men were not Iranian officials.

Though somewhat clumsy, last month's attacks raised concern that a "shadow war" may be developing between Israel and Iran over Iran's nuclear programme. At least four Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in attacks believed to have been carried out by or for Israel's intelligence services.

The attack in New Delhi has been awkward for the Indian government, which has close defence ties with Israel but is also a major buyer of Iranian crude oil. India has tried to work around U.S. and European sanctions aimed at damaging Iran's atomic development, which the West fears is aimed at building nuclear weapons.

In New Delhi, a bomber travelling by motorcycle attached an explosive to the car of the Israeli diplomat's wife as she drove to pick her children up from school on February 13, hours after an attack was foiled in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The next day in Bangkok, an Iranian lost his legs when a bomb he was carrying exploded in shortly after an apparently accidental explosion forced him and two other men to flee a house they had been renting.

The wounded man and a second Iranian, arrested at Bangkok's main airport, are in custody. A third Iranian believed linked to the plot, Masoud, was detained in Malaysia.

Israel accuses Iran of engineering the attacks. Iran rejects that.

India's foreign ministry said it was seeking an Interpol order for the three men believed to be behind the new Delhi attack, but added that "no conclusions could be drawn at this stage".

"We have informed the Iranian ambassador of these developments so as to seek the cooperation of the Iranian authorities in bringing those involved in this dastardly attack to justice," spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in a statement.

Thai investigators say the same magnets were used to make the bombs in India and Thailand.

Last week, Indian police arrested a journalist called Mohammed Kazmi who did freelance work for an Iranian news agency in connection with the embassy attack.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel and Annie Banerji; Editing by John Chalmers and Robert Birsel)

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