Koh Chang, Thailand 311.
(photo credit: Elana Kirsh)
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a “severe travel warning” on Friday advising
Israeli nationals to stay away from Bangkok after Thai authorities announced
they had arrested a Lebanese Hezbollah operative in the
According to the warning, Israelis should refrain from traveling
to Bangkok in the “near future,” not congregate at spots known to be favored by
Israelis, refuse to accept packages from strangers and raise their overall
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Hezbollah threat prompts security for Ashkenazi
On Friday, The Jerusalem Post reported on an Israeli decision
to raise the level of alert surrounding its delegations overseas out of concern
that Iran and Hezbollah are trying to attack Israel to avenge the assassination
last week of a senior nuclear scientist in Tehran and ahead of the anniversary
of the killing of Hezbollah’s military chief in 2008.
The travel advisory
came after Thai authorities announced Friday that they had arrested a Hezbollah
operative after receiving an intelligence tip from Israel.
deputy prime minister said that police had stepped up security and he was
confident the situation was under control.
A Thai Defense Ministry source
said Israeli intelligence had contacted officials in Bangkok on December 22 with
information that two or three suspects could be planning an attack in
However, the individuals traveled to the south and left the
The Israelis alerted Thai officials again on January 8 of the
danger of an attack around January 13-15 in areas where there are often large
concentrations of Western tourists, such as the Khao San Road, a site popular
among 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.
Defense Minister Yuthasak
Sasiprapha said the Israeli Embassy and synagogues could also be targeted and
that the attacks could come in the form of car bombs.
The US Embassy also
warned of a possible attack by “foreign terrorists” and told its citizens to be
careful in areas of the capital frequented by tourists.
all US citizens to take caution when visiting public areas where Western
tourists are known to gather in Bangkok,” said Walter Braunohler, a spokesman at
Hezbollah is believed to be actively seeking revenge for the
assassination of its military commander Imad Mughniyeh in 2008, and over the
years there have been reports of a number of plots that were thwarted, including
an attempt to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan.
Sunday, Bulgarian Defense Minister Anu Anguelov will arrive in Tel Aviv for
talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak amid reports of a terror threat to
Israeli tourists in Sofia.
Barak and Anguelov will discuss ways to
increase defense cooperation between the countries and to add content to a
memorandum of understanding the two ministers signed in January
Since the deterioration in its ties with Turkey, Israel has looked
to bolster its alliances with Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. Barak held
talks with his Cypriot and Greek counterparts this past week during meetings in
Tel Aviv and Athens.
Last week, the head of security at the Israeli
Transportation Ministry asked Bulgarian authorities to increase security around
Israeli tourists in Sofia after a suspicious package was discovered on a bus
that was supposed to transport the tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria