Hezbollah Planned Mumbai-Style Attack On Chabad in Bangkok


detained-lebanese-hizballah-suspect-hussein-atrisA detained Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist suspect was part of a planned attack on the Chabad Jewish community centre near Khao San road in Bangkok, according to a news website which specializes in intelligence reporting.

Debkafile said on Tuesday that its sources confirmed that Hussein Atris, who was arrested by Thai police at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday night, was part of a planned attack along the lines of al Qaeda’s attack on the Mumbai Chabad [Jewish] centre in 2008, involving the taking of hostages and blowing up the building. Eight Jews were killed in the attack.

The Debkafile website also has pages in Hebrew.

According to the sources quoted on the English language page, the planned attack would have been even deadlier because Chabad Bangkok is larger.

The sources also said that two or three ”Hizballah” (sic) groups were to launch coordinated attacks simultaneously this month, and one of them was to strike at restaurants that are popular with Americans and Israelis on Khao San road.

Detained Lebanese Hizballah suspect Hussein Atris (Photo by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn)

On the arrest of Mr Atris, Debka sources said, “Thai police were waiting for the suspect at the airport after receiving alerts from US and Israeli counter-terrorist agencies, which had advance information about the coming attack.

“The tip-off originated with Lebanese nationals living in Bangkok who had been approached for assistance. Those informants, who did not trust the local authorities to act, went straight to Western and Israeli contacts, who then published terror alerts to US and Israeli travellers.”

As for other suspected Hezbollah members in Thailand, the website believed they “managed to escape by plane from Bangkok or by crossing into Laos and catching a flight there, although other sources believe they are still hiding out in Thailand waiting for another chance to strike”.

National Security Council secretary-general Wichean Potephosree said the US embassy should issue its terror warning in a more subtle manner.

Pol Gen Wichean said the US embassy should have had contacted the Foreign Affairs Ministry first.

The former national police chief also questioned whether the Lebanese man carrying a Swedish passport was actually a terrorist.

“Authorities must be careful when labelling someone a terrorist as it could bring about serious consequences,” he said.

Israeli authorities had warned the Thai government about possible terrorist acts each year following a terrorist bomb attack in Thailand in 1994. Both sides had been keeping in touch regularly, Pol Gen Wichean said.

Yesterday, police raided a three-storey commercial building in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon after Mr Atris confessed that explosive materials were hidden there.

They found 4,380 kilogrammes of urea-based fertiliser and 290 litres of ammonium nitrate, used in making explosives, but the suspect told investigators that they were not intended for use in any planned attack in Thailand. They were to be exported. Investigators were reported to have said they believed him.

{Bangkok Post/Matzav.com Newscenter}