Lebanese man held in Bangkok over terror threat

A Lebanese man was arrested in Bangkok on Thursday, after Thailand received warning from Israel of a possible terrorist attack, Reuters said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung told Reuters on Friday, “A Lebanese suspect from the Hezbollah group has been taken into custody by Thai officials and police are investigating further.”

The American Embassy in Bangkok posted a warning on its website and also sent an email to Americans registered with the embassy. The contents of the email said:

This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok.

The threat of an attack hovers as tensions mount between Iran and the United States and Israel, over Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran and the US have been trading barbs over the Strait of Hormuz, and key figures connected with Iran’s nuclear program have been targeted.

More on GlobalPost: Iran's Revolutionary Guards to hold new exercises in Strait of Hormuz

Most recently, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a nuclear scientist, was killed by a magnetic bomb on his car, and Tehran’s deputy governor claimed that it was the “work of Zionists.”

Hezbollah is anti-Israel and has close ties to Iran. Yubamrung told the Associated Press, “At first we were told the Palestinians were behind it but it turned out to be the Hezbollah”

Ambassador Kristie Kenney told the AP that the threat was “real and very credible.”

Yubamrung believed the threat had passed, stating, “I am confident that we have the situation under control. And I can guarantee … no terrorist attacks will be allowed to take place.”

Bangkok received a tip-off from the Israeli embassy about possible attacks on tourists, especially around Jan. 13 to 15, according to Reuters. Defense Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha said that other individuals were being watched and high risk areas such as popular tourist destinations and airports were under surveillance for any further threat.

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