At the same time, National Police Chief Priewpan Damapong confirmed that the U.S. had informed Thailand that two Lebanese nationals linked to the Hezbollah group and suspected of terrorism had entered Thailand and could possibly be staging an attack, TAN Network reported.
Initial reports indicate that he and Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung both went on to confirm that the two suspects have been arrested. There has not been any confirmation that the two arrested suspects are the reason behind the emergency warning.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told a press conference that the US embassy has been sharing information about the threat with the ministry and other foreign embassies for some time and the other embassies are in the process of considering whether to issue a similar warning.
The US Embassy in Bangkok posted an emergency message to its citizens of a possible terrorist threat on its website this afternoon.
The message on the US Embassy website said quote "This message alerts US citizens in Thailand that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future. US citizens are urged to exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok.
"US citizens are encouraged to maintain a heightened awareness when out in public; be alert for unattended packages/bags in public/crowded places and report any suspicious behavior to the nearest law enforcement personnel. We also encourage you to keep a low profile in public areas, particularly areas frequented by foreign tourists." end quote.
A little later, a recall message was sent out to recall the emergency message, but then the recall message was withdrawn saying it was a technical error and the original emergency message still stands.
US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney confirmed the authenticity of the message via her Twitter account @KristieKenny. She added that the message should be read carefully and be considered as US citizens in Bangkok plan their activities.
In a phone interview with TAN Network, US Embassy Spokesman Walter Braunohler reiterated that there is specific and credible information about a terrorist attack in Bangkok in the near future. However, he refused to disclose details as to the possible targets or the timeframe.
The warning can be accessed via the US Embassy's website at bangkok.usembassy.gov.
- TAN Network