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Temple blast: Thailand claims 'lot of progress' in probe

 Thailand on Friday said it has made "a lot of progress" in its probe into the blast in the Brahma temple here and suspected that the bomber had a number of "accomplices" in the country's worst attack that had killed 20 people.



Bangkok: Thailand on Friday said it has made "a lot of progress" in its probe into the blast in the Brahma temple here and suspected that the bomber had a number of "accomplices" in the country's worst attack that had killed 20 people.

With no arrests so far, Thai authorities tripled the award for information leading to the arrest of the lone bomber to 3 million baht (USD 85,000).

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he had received offers of assistance from the US Embassy here and had assigned his deputy "to cooperate on borrowing equipment that includes facial-recognition technology."

Amid tight security, religious prayers, known as merit- making rites, were held this morning at the Erawan Brahma temple in the memory of the twenty people killed on Monday.

Speaking after the memorial, national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said the bomb was an attempt to create fear and uncertainty in the capital.

"The aim is to discredit the government and create a climate of fear to deter tourists," Somyot told reporters.

"There's a lot of progress (in the case), but I can't disclose everything," he said.

Somyot also said that the main suspect who was captured on CCTV placing a backpack under a bench at the temple minutes before the explosion must have had "accomplices supporting the attack".

A police spokesman yesterday also hinted that investigators are looking at whether a private dispute could be behind the blast, media reports said.

Also, two persons who attracted suspicion after being seen on CCTV footage near the main suspect at the temple were ruled out as accomplices.

Police are now also investigating a woman dressed in black and seen in CCTV footage at the time of the blast.

The US Embassy confirmed that it had offered to help Thai authorities but declined to give details.

"We will continue to consult closely with local authorities regarding the attack and will provide assistance as appropriate," embassy spokeswoman Melissa Sweeney.

Prime Minister Prayuth, however, said, "It won't be necessary to cooperate on the investigation with US officers."

"We need to help ourselves," he said.

Thai police have also released a sketch of the young bespectacled foreign man who carried out the bombing and is believed to be part of the over 10-member network. Authorities on Wednesday announced a reward of 1 million baht for information leading to his arrest.

From Zee News

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