Counter Terrorism Bureau: Safe to visit Thailand

Agency cites work of Thai security forces, including the arrest of alleged Hezbollah operative in lowering travel warning.

By
January 26, 2012 17:43
1 minute read.
Palm Tree in Thailand, Koh Chang

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

 
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Thailand is once again safe for Israeli travelers, at least according to the National Security Council's Counter Terrorism Bureau.

The Bureau released a statement Thursday saying a previous "severe travel warning" issued two weeks ago over the likelihood of an immediate attack against Israelis in Bangkok has been canceled because of the work of the Thai security forces that included the arrest of an alleged Hezbollah operative there, and the uncovering of a Hezbollah weapons storehouse –and other Hezbollah facilities -- in the country.

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At the same time, the statement said, because of the possibility that there remains some terrorist infrastructure in Thailand, and in light of concern that Hezbollah will try to avenge the 2008 killing of Hezbollah's shadowy commander Imad Muganiyah on the anniversary of his death on February 12,  Israelis traveling to the country are advised to exercise caution.

Earlier this month, Thai authorities arrested a Lebanese suspect after the US embassy warned of a possible attack in Bangkok. Thailand's deputy prime minister said at the time that police had stepped up security and he was confident the situation would be contained.

A Thai Defense Ministry source said Israeli intelligence had contacted Thai officials on Dec. 22 with information that two or three suspects could be planning an attack in Thailand. However, the individuals traveled to the South and left the country.

Israeli intelligence sources alerted Thai officials again on Jan. 8 of the danger of an attack around Jan. 13 to 15 in areas where there are often large concentrations of Western tourists, such as the Khao San Road, which is popular with young backpackers.

The arrest was made after the second Israeli warning, the source said, adding that Thai security officials were working closely with the United States and Israel.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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