A Lebanese man arrested in Thailand earlier this week on suspicion of ties to terror group Hezbollah admitted to plotting a bomb attack on Israeli tourists in Bangkok, the Bangkok Post reported Friday.
On Tuesday, Lebanese-French citizen Daud Farhat and Lebanese-Philippine citizen Yousef Ayyad, both of whom have been on the Thai immigration watchlist for possible Hezbollah ties, were detained for questioning.
According to police, Ayyad confessed that he and at least two others entered Thailand to carry out a bombing against Israeli tourists in Bangkok as well as other Israeli groups on Khao San Road over Passover and the Thai New Year — Songkran — which coincided this week. The third suspect remains at large.
Thai authorities said the men were arrested at different locations in Bangkok after Thai police received intelligence from Israel about a planned attack on Israeli tourists during the Jewish holiday of Passover.
“If we had been unable to arrest the men during Songkran, a bomb attack would certainly have taken place somewhere on Khao San Road,” a source said. Khao San Road is a popular destination among Israeli tourists.
Investigators believe at least nine suspected foreign terrorists connected to Hezbollah are somewhere in Thailand.
Israeli anti-terror website Stop910, which gathers information on terror cells in East Asia, reported Tuesday the presence and detention of the Lebanese in Thailand. The site claimed the suspects were scouting out Israeli and Western sites for potential attacks.
Thailand is a frequent travel destination for Israelis, particularly young people who tend to take time off to travel the world after completing their service in the Israel Defense Forces.
This was not the first attack plot against Israelis in Thailand. In February 2012, an Iranian ring planning a terror attack on Israeli or Jewish targets in Bangkok was exposed following a botched grenade attack.
A month earlier, Swedish-Lebanese citizen Atris Hussein, allegedly a member of Hezbollah, was arrested with a large amount of fertilizer stored in a house that he had rented. He was sentenced to 32 months of prison for possessing explosive precursors without a permit.