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Malaysia arrests suspected Iranian terrorist

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BANGKOK — Israeli officials traced a trail of bomb attacks against Israeli diplomats to Iran on Wednesday, and police in Malaysia arrested a third Iranian suspect linked to explosions in the Thai capital.

The Israeli ambassador to Thailand said police found explosives in Bangkok similar to a magnetic car bomb that injured the wife of an Israeli diplomat in India and another planted but defused on an Israeli Embassy vehicle in the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Monday.

"They are similar to the ones used in New Delhi and Tbilisi," Ambassador Itzhak Shoham told reporters. "From that, we can assume that there is the same network of terror."

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his Security Cabinet to discuss what he called "repeated attempts to attack Israeli targets."

Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks and claimed Wednesday that Israel is trying to damage its relations with Thailand.

Thai police meanwhile continued their search for an Iranian woman identified as Rohani Leila, 32. Police said she had rented a house for an Iranian bomb-making gang in an upscale Muslim neighborhood in the Thai capital.

The man arrested in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur carried an Iranian passport that identified him as Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 31, who was born in Tehran. He was trying to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran on Wednesday, after changing an earlier reservation for a flight to the Iranian capital on Feb. 25.

Mr. Sedaghatzadeh arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday evening, hours after the suspected bomb-making gang's plot unraveled during a bizarre and bloody afternoon on Bangkok's crowded streets.

The melee erupted when a stash of explosives blew up the rented house, and three suspects fled the building. One of them, identified as Saeid Moradi, threw a grenade at police, but it bounced back and blew off his legs, police said.

Thai police said they hoped to question Mr. Moradi, who was recovering in a Bangkok hospital.

Another Iranian man, Mohammad Hazaei, was arrested at Bangkok's international airport on Tuesday as he attempted to board a flight south to Malaysia.

Thai police said they discovered C-4 explosives hidden inside two radios in the damaged house in Bangkok.

Thailand is not usually a target for international terrorism, but its airport is a major hub for Asian air travel and could be emerging as a staging area for terrorists.

"I think that terrorism looks for soft targets, and Thailand being so open a country and friendly, it is also a very, very soft target," the Israeli ambassador told Thailand's Nation TV on Wednesday.

"People come here, and they feel they can do whatever they want. And we think that probably this is one of the reasons why the terrorists have chosen Thailand," Mr. Shoham said.

Last month, police arrested a Lebanese man with dual Swiss citizenship. They identified him as Hussein Atris and suspect he is involved with Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorists.

When he was arrested, Mr. Atris was in possession of 10 gallons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used to build bombs, authorities said.

After arresting Mr. Atris, police increased security around potential Israeli targets including Bangkok's synagogues, the Chabad House religious center and the Israeli Embassy.

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