A threat of terrorist attack in Bangkok is “real and very credible,” U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney warned following the arrest of at least one man suspected of plotting attacks on the Thai capital, local media reported.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said on Friday the Thai authorities, in cooperation with the United States, had detained two suspected members of Hezbollah, a Shi’a Muslim militant group based in Lebanon. The men, he said, arrived in Thailand recently and have since been under watch.
Later in the day, Yoobamrung told Reuters “a Lebanese suspect from the Hizbollah group has been taken into custody by Thai officials and police are investigating further.”
A local police source said the police were looking for at least one more suspect who managed to escape from a house in the Thai capital raided by security forces, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from Bangkok.
A few hours before the Thai minister’s statement, the U.S. Embassy in Thailand alerted U.S. citizens that terrorists may be planning to conduct attacks in tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future.
“U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok,” the embassy said in an emergency message published on its website.