Arrested Lebanese terror suspect Atris Hussein led Thai police to a shophouse in Samut Sakhon today Jan. 16, where they found 4,300 kg of fertilizer and other materials for making bombs.
Over 200 police raided the shophouse outside Bangkok after Hussein confessed that bomb-making materials where hidden there, Thailand National Police Chief Priewpan Damapong said according to the Bangkok Post. Hussein, who holds a Swedish passport and is allegedly connected with Hezbollah, was arrested trying to leave the country Friday night.
Police also discovered 260 liters of ammonium nitrate, 400 electric fans, many pairs of slippers, and sheets of A4 paper, the Post reported.
Police are still looking for another Lebanese suspect who is believed to be loose somewhere in Thailand, most likely Bangkok.
Hussein told police that they weren’t planning on attacking Thailand, Pol Gen Priewpan said. “Mr Atris wanted to tell the Thai people that they should not be worried as there will be no terrorist attacks in Thailand, definitely,” said Priewpan according to the Post.
The discovery came on the heels of disagreement between the US and Thailand over a terrorist attack warning based on “specific and credible” information issued by the US Embassy Friday Jan. 13. The warning irked Thai officials who said that they weren’t informed beforehand and complained that it would hurt the valuable tourism industry. Israel warned its citizens in Thailand of attacks, as well as about a dozen other countries.
The US and Israel have upped their actions and rhetoric towards Iran over its nuclear program recently, and Iran is a known supporter of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.
Thailand Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaiku said this weekend that, “The matter has affected not only security but also the economy. I have already expressed my disappointment through the media and this was a diplomatic way of telling the US off for not consulting with Thailand first.”
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged calm and said that her government had the situation under control. “I’d like to tell people not to panic. The situation is under control. There is no problem,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said according to the AP. “We can assure the safety of the (Thai) people and foreign tourists.”
But the US Embassy said today that the warning still holds. “Whenever we have specific, credible, not-counterable threats, it is our responsibility to inform Americans in Thailand,” embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler told the AP. “That’s what we did Friday. We issued an emergency message, and that remains in effect.”
Photos of the shophouse and bomb-making material are on the Bangkok Post’s site here.
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