Lebanese terror suspect who planned attacks against Jewish sites arrested in Thailand
17 January 2012
Thailand has announced the arrest of a Lebanese terror suspect aiming to target Jewish sites in Bangkok less than three hours after the US warned of a possible attack. Thai police arrested a suspect linked to the Islamist Hezbollah movement, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung told reporters. A spokesman for the US Embassy in Bangkok told the news agency ‘Bloomberg’ that the warning remained in place even after reports of the arrest.
„The situation is normal,” Police Chief Priewpan Damapong told reporters. „There is nothing to worry about.” The United States warned Saturday in an „emergency message” that „foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future.” US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said via ‘Twitter’ that the threat was”Bangkok-specific” and „credible.” Attis Hussein, a Swedish-Lebanese man suspected of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks led Thai police to a shophouse on the outskirts of Bangkok where they found hundreds of boxes of bombmaking materials. Hussein was charged by police with possessing illegal substances.
In Israel, the prime minister’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned of „a clear and present possibility that a terror attack is planned against Israeli travelers in Bangkok”. The newspaper ‘Haaretz’, citing a source in the Israeli defense establishment, reported that the terror attack had been expected to happen ahead of 12 February, the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh. „A manhunt is still underway after the additional suspects, which means the threat still exists and the travel advisory is still in force,” the source was quoted as saying.
Hezbollah operatives have already carried out several terror attacks against Jewish and Israeli sites world-wide, including the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. In 1972, Arab gunmen invaded the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok and seized hostages, including the ambassador, but the situation was later resolved peacefully.
The Jewish centers in Thailand are run by the Chabad Lubavitch movement and cater mainly for Jewish travelers.