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Bangkok Shrine Bomb: International Terrorism Not Suspected

At least 10 plotters were involved in a deadly bomb attack targeting a Bangkok shrine but international terrorists are not suspected, officials said.
/ Source: Reuters

BANGKOK — At least 10 plotters were involved in a deadly bomb attack targeting a shrine popular with tourists in the Thai capital but international terrorists are not suspected, authorities said Thursday.

The Erawan Shrine reopened to the public on Wednesday.NARONG SANGNAK / EPA

There has been no claim of responsibility for Monday night's Bangkok attack which killed 20 people and injured nearly 130 others. The government has said it was designed to wreck the economy but authorities have not blamed any group.

"Security agencies have cooperated with agencies from allied countries and have come to the preliminary conclusion that the incident is unlikely to be linked to international terrorism," said Colonel Winthai Suvaree, a spokesman for Thailand's ruling junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order.

The Erawan shrine is particularly popular with tourists from China and other East Asian countries, and 14 foreigners were among the dead, including seven from mainland China and Hong Kong, but Winthai said Chinese tourists were not believed to have been the target.

He did not elaborate or say who might have been responsible.

The apparent elimination of foreign militant involvement will feed speculation that either Muslim separatists waging a low-intensity insurgency in southern Thailand, or domestic political activists, were involved.

National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said the investigation showed the attack was planned at least a month in advance by a "big network".

"This includes those who looked out on the streets, prepared the bomb and those at the site and ... those who knew the escape route. I believe there must have been at least 10 people involved," Somyot told reporters.

Checks at airports and other exit points found that no one matching the description of the main suspect had left the country since the attack, a police spokesman said.

The Erawan shrine, which is dedicated to a Hindu deity but is popular with Buddhists in Thailand, has since reopened, with visitors leaving messages of condolence, flowers and candles.