Thai authorities attempted to downplay the stern travel advisories issued by Israel and the United States Friday, urging their citizens to avoid trips to Bangkok, saying that the threat of a terror attack in the city was not as serious as first believed and that "Bangkok authorities had the situation under control."
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel advisory on Friday afternoon, urging Israelis to avoid trips to Thailand and especially to the Bangkok area.
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The advisory – similar to one issued by Washington – was prioritized by the CTB as a "concrete threat," and followed an arrest made by Bangkok authorities of a Hezbollah-linked Lebanese national, suspected of plotting a terror attack in the city.
Details of the investigation released by Bangkok, said that two Lebanese suspects traveled to Thailand with Lebanese and Swedish passports. One of the suspects is still at large.
Thai Defense Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying that the two were planning "car bomb attacks against important locations such as the Israeli Embassy, synagogues, Israeli tour companies and restaurants visited by Israelis."
Thailand authorities with suspect's sketch (Photo: EPA)
According to the report, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra confirmed that she had received information from the US regarding a terror threat.
She tasked Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrungand and National Police Chief Priewpan Damapong to the case, and ordered the Royal Thai Police and National Intelligence Agency on high alert.
Priewpan said that an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Bureau and the Special Branch Bureau found that the two travelled from Lebanon and stayed near Khao San Road, but managed to escape when police raided their room. The suspect that is now in custody was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
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