Some 10 bomb blasts during the night rocked five coastal resort areas along Thailand’s southern coast, including Hua Hin and Phuket, leaving at least four dead and dozens wounded.
As yet no one has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, which, however, bear the mark of a terrorist organization. Though Thailand has suffered bomb attacks from separatist groups in the last 12 years, they have tended not to target tourist centers.
While investigations ensure, Bangkok authorities have insisted that the explosions were not the result of Islamic terrorism, preferring to speak of “local sabotage,” though reports suggest that the official explanation may be motivated more by fears of losing tourist business than by actual evidence.
Two of the bombs that exploded at a resort in Hua Hin had been concealed in plant vases and detonated remotely by cell phone. Thursday night began a national holiday marking the birthday of Thailand’s Queen Sirikit.
As Breitbart News reported late last year, ten Syrian militants from the Islamic State were known to have entered the Kingdom of Thailand last fall, allegedly to target Russian interests.
Moscow’s top intelligence agency contacted Thai police in December, warning that ten ISIS militants had entered the kingdom with the specific intent of targeting Russian tourists, for whom Thailand is a frequent holiday destination.
According to the intelligence, four of the terrorists went to Pattaya, two to Phuket, two to Bangkok and the other two to an unknown location.
“So far it’s only intelligence news that still needs to be proved… we have no proof if they are here for real or not,” said Thai spokesman, Songpol Wattanachai.
“Please be confident— we won’t disregard the intelligence,” he said.
A congressional report released in June found that the Islamic State had expanded beyond its initial base in Iraq and Syria to field six effective militias in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) predicted at the time that jihadist attacks would continue to surge in lethality and geography, and specifically mentioned Thailand as a probable target.
After the attacks, authorities have stepped up security at transport hubs, and Phuket international airport, and some railways stations and roads have been closed.
Foreign embassies have counselled extreme caution to visitors to Thailand.
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