Thailand hunting Hezbollah operatives planning terror attacks against Jews, Israelis
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau has issued a warning to Israelis to stay away from Bangkok, and advised those already in the capital to avoid areas commonly frequented by Israelis.
Thailand's intelligence services launched a manhunt Friday for a Hezbollah operative who is part of a terror cell planning attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets in Bangkok.
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau has issued a warning to Israelis to stay away from the Thai capital, and advised those already in Bangkok to avoid areas commonly frequented by Israelis.
The defense source said the Thai authorities were working hard to thwart the attack, which was expected sometime ahead of February 12 - the anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh.
According to Thai sources, despite the arrest of the first suspect, the terror warning is still in force.
The defense source said the incident was still underway.
"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 said.
The source also called on Israelis who are now in Thailand to comply with the directives and to stay away from Bangkok.
Thai sources said that during his questioning, the detained Hezbollah operative confessed that a terror squad was intending to launch an attack on Israeli targets, including places where Israelis stay.
"The Thai authorities have stationed heavy security at all potential targets," a securing source added.
According to the Thai media, Israel first informed the Thai authorities on December 22 that three Hezbollah operatives had entered the country in order to perpetrate terror attacks. On January 8, Israel received additional information pinpointing this weekend as the time of the attack.
The Americans had also informed the Thai authorities before Christmas that they had received information from Israel about a planned terror attack against Western and American targets in Bangkok.
Three members of the terror cell are Lebanese citizens who also hold Swedish passports, and who visited Thailand a few times in recent months.
The information led the Thai authorities Friday to an apartment near Khao San Road, a popular destination for Israeli backpackers and other visitors to the Thai capital.
Thai security officials raided the apartment but the Hezbollah men had already fled.
They arrested Idris Hussein, 48, a dual Lebanese-Swiss citizen, at Bangkok Airport a few minutes before he was due to board a flight out of the country.
Following Hussein's arrest, nine other countries besides Israel and the United States issued travel advisories against visiting Bangkok.