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Thailand arrests Lebanese suspect amid terror warning

Investigators in Thailand have arrested a Lebanese terror suspect who tried to attack spots in Bangkok that are popular with Western tourists, the Thai government said Friday.

"A Lebanese suspect from the Hezbollah group has been taken into custody by Thai officials and police are investigating further," Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung minister said.

A Thai defense ministry source said Israeli Intelligence had contacted Thai officials on December 22 and again on January 8 with information of a viable terror threat and the possibility of an imminent attack on sites known as high-profile tourist attractions.


Israel Counter-Terrorism Bureau issues high-priority warning urging Israelis to avoid trips to Thailand, and especially Bangkok, over concrete terror threat

January 13, 2012

Investigators in Thailand have arrested a Lebanese terror suspect who tried to attack spots in Bangkok that are popular with Western tourists, the Thai government said Friday.

The United States, meanwhile, warned its citizens in Thailand on Friday of the possibility of imminent terrorist attacks in busy tourist areas of Bangkok.

The terror suspect is believed to belong to Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group active in Lebanon that the United States views as a terrorist organization.

The United States has passed information to Thai authorities that caused the Thai government to be on high alert and to look for suspects, said Thitima Chaisaeng, a spokeswoman for the Thai government. Neighboring countries received similar information, Chaisaeng said.

The U.S. Embassy statement spoke of "foreign terrorists" who may be planning attacks "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," a statement on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok said.

The embassy did not provide any further information on the source of the threat.

Thailand is a highly popular tourist destination and Bangkok serves as a major transport hub for the Southeast Asian region.

Thailand has undergone periods of unrest in recent years. It experienced a spate of political violence during anti-government demonstrations in 2010.

And Muslim separatists in southern Thailand have long battled government forces in a country that is overwhelmingly Buddhist, with a number of bombings taking place last year.

The embassy said U.S. citizens should "maintain a heightened awareness when out in public," advising them to be on the lookout for unattended packages and bags in public places and other crowded areas.

It also suggested that they "keep a low profile in public areas, particularly areas frequented by foreign tourists."

Fran Townsend, a national security analyst for CNN, reported that Thai officials at one of the airports serving Bangkok were conducting pat downs and bag searches on all passengers at the departure gate for U.S. air carriers on Sunday.




The Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel advisory warning Israelis to avoid trips to Thailandand especially to the Bangkokarea.





Friday's advisory, prioritized by the CTB as "High – Concrete Threat," followed an arrest made by Thai authorities of aHezbollah-linked Lebanese national, suspected of plotting a terror attack in the city.
The CTB's warning urges Israelis to avoid the area altogether if possible and to avoid mass gatherings in Bangkok areas known to be favorite tourist hotspots; as well as to be alert to any suspicious objects or people, to avoid accepting parcels form strangers in Bangkok and to abide by Thai security forces' orders.



Earlier Friday, Thai authorities confirmed that a Lebanese national with ties to the Shiite terror group was arrested for allegedly plotting an attack in Bangkok.



"A Lebanese suspect from the Hezbollah group has been taken into custody by Thai officials and police are investigating further," Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung minister said.





"Following concern raised by the Israeli Embassy about a possible attack by a group of Lebanese terrorists in Bangkok, Thai police officials had been coordinating with Israeli officials since before the New Year," he added.





Defense Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha said Thai and US intelligence officials were monitoring the movements of other individuals and were stepping up precautions in areas deemed to be at risk such as tourist sites and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.




A Thai defense ministry source said Israeli Intelligence had contacted Thai officials on December 22 and again on January 8 with information of a viable terror threat and the possibility of an imminent attack on sites known as high-profile tourist attractions.





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.



The US embassy had warned of a possible attack by "foreign terrorists" and told its citizens to be careful in areas of the capital frequented by tourists.





"We're warning all US citizens to take caution when visiting public areas where Western tourists are known to gather in Bangkok," Walter Braunohler, a spokesman at the embassy, said.









http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/13/world/asia/thailand-terrorist-threat/index.html?hpt=ias_c2




http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4175267,00.html


Added: Jan-13-2012 Occurred On: Jan-13-2012
By: aydeo
In:
World News
Tags: Bangkok, Lebanese suspect, Hezbollah
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