Bangkok: An alleged terrorist plot aimed at
Bangkok that sparked urgent warnings of danger from the United
States and Israel has been thwarted, Thai police said on Saturday.
National Police Chief Gen Priewpan Damapong said the
alleged bombing scheme was called off by the alleged plotters,
two Lebanese men said to be linked to pro-Iranian Hezbollah
militants. One man was in custody for questioning, and the
other was at large.
The US Embassy had circulated a warning yesterday that
there was a "real and credible" terrorist threat against
Americans in Bangkok, and Israel issued a similar warning to
its citizens. Thai authorities confirmed being informed of a
plot, and said they were pursuing the missing suspect.
The warnings came during heightened tension over US and
Israeli responses to the prospect that Iran is going forward
with developing nuclear weapons.
Priewpan`s remarks came less than 12 hours after police
held a hastily arranged news conference late last night in
which they circulated a sketch of the missing suspect, with a
call for the public to help track him down. They said the man
in custody told them the plot was supposed to be carried out
between January 13 and 15.
Thailand seemed to have been caught by surprise by the
publicity over the alleged plot, which officials said they had
been informed about before New Year`s. The US Embassy warning
was the first public notice of the affair, and Defense
Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa said Thai authorities did not
release news of the alleged plot because of fears that it
would hurt the tourist industry and cause panic.