Thailand police find bomb material after terror warnings

Danon: Israelis abroad should be involved in terrorism prevention.

By REUTERS
January 17, 2012 01:32
2 minute read.
Palm Tree in Thailand, Koh Chang

Palm Tree in Thailand, Koh Chang_311. (photo credit: Elana Kirsh)

Thai police discovered bombmaking material after the detention of a Lebanese man suspected of planning an attack, but the prime minister insisted Monday that everything was under control.

Authorities beefed up security in parts of the capital and other areas popular with tourists after the United States and Israel warned on Friday of a possible terrorist attack.

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Police detained a Lebanese man reportedly carrying a Swedish passport. Officials said he had links to Hezbollah.

National police chief Priewpan Damapong told reporters the suspect, named as Atris Hussein, had given police an address where bomb-making material was being kept.

Officers discovered large amounts of substances that could be used to make explosives in a building in Samut Sakhon, southwest of Bangkok, including 4,380 kg of urea and 40 liters of liquid ammonium nitrate.

Damapong said the suspect maintained his group had not planned an attack in Thailand but intended to transport the substances to a third country.

The officer declined to give the destination.

Asked about the discovery, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters: “I have been informed. I would like to ask people not to panic.

We are currently in control of the situation.”

Defense Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha told reporters in the northern city of Chiang Mai on Sunday that Thailand was not the target, although officials have also said that areas of Bangkok frequented by Westerners and Israelis could be hit.

Yuthasak said a second suspect had managed to leave the country. Police said the detained suspect had not yet been charged with any offense.

Thai officials have seemed irritated by travel advisories issued by the US and Israeli governments, followed by several more since Friday, and Foreign Minister Surapong Towijakchaikul said diplomats from countries that had issued warnings would meet with him for an explanation on Monday.

At a meeting Monday of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, committee chairman Danny Danon (Likud) suggested Israeli tourists should be given information allowing them to report potential terror attacks abroad.

In the meeting called following the threats on Jewish targets in Thailand, Danon said Israeli tourists should pass to each other police composite pictures of those suspected of planning the attack.

“There is no difference between threats on Israeli and Jewish targets,” the Likud MK said. “Israel is the Jewish state, and as such, must show responsibility in this matter.”

Foreign Ministry representative Shmuel Ben-Shmuel said the Israeli Embassy in Thailand is in contact with local security whenever there is a threat. He explained the topic of terrorists targeting Jews abroad is constantly discussed in the ministry.


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