Israelis concerned, but still going to Thailand
Tourists travelling to Southeast Asian country say they will not change plans despite severe travel advisory. 'There were times when it was dangerous to ride on buses here in Israel, but we still did. You just have to remain alert,' says Galilee resident
No worries? Israelis planning to fly to Thailand, and those who are already in the Southeast Asian country, said they do not intend to change their plans, despite the travel advisory issued on Friday by the Counter-terrorism Bureau.
"This is not the stage where you cancel such a trip, which has been planned for long months. You just have to be alert and aware; avoid crowded areas or places where Israelis hang out," said a Western Galilee resident, who is planning to fly to Thailand this weekend with a group of friends.
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Other members of the group said they were concerned by the grave warning, "But there were times when it was dangerous to ride on buses here in Israel, and we still did. You just have to keep a low profile and trust one another," said one of the group members.
Meanwhile, Israelis staying in Bangkok told Ynet that they did not notice heightened security forces and police presence around the Thai capital. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Friday stated that they have not been approached by concerned Israelis abroad, following the announcement of the advisory.
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel advisory on Friday afternoon, urging Israelis to avoid trips to Thailand and especially to the Bangkok area.
The advisory 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.
'Attack called off'
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's police chief said that Hezbollah called off its plan to carry out a terror attack in the capital city after security forces uncovered details of the plan, the paper reported on Saturday.
The commander based the information on an initial investigation of the Lebanese national suspected of involvement in the plot.
However, earlier reports from Bangkok suggested that police forces were stepping up security in the city's crowded areas and tourist destinations, as well as around the Israeli Embassy.
"There is no reason to panic," a senior police officer noted, "We are quite capable of handling the situation," he said.
Gil Naveh contributed to this report
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