International terror network behind Bangkok attack

Bangkok, Aug 20 (IANS) The deadly bombing of a shrine in the Thai capital of Bangkok is likely to be linked to international terrorist network, a spokesman for the country’s military junta said Thursday.

Thai police have said that at least 10 people might have been involved in the attack which took place on Monday evening when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near the Brahma statue at the Erawan Shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok, killing 20 people and injuring 125 others, CNN reported.

“This operation was carried out by a big network,” said Royal Thai Police Commissioner General Somyot Poompanmoung.

The chief suspect is “an unnamed male foreigner,” according to an arrest warrant issued Wednesday by a Thai court.

A Thai motorbike taxi driver who believes he picked up the suspect shortly after the blast also said he did not seem to be Thai.

Driver Kasem Pooksuwan, 47, told CNN that the man — who spoke an unfamiliar language on his cell phone during the short ride — did not speak to him at all but showed him a piece of paper with the name of a central city park written in English.

“When I dropped him, he still appeared very calm, just like (a) normal customer. He seemed not in a hurry at all,” Kasem said.

Thai police spokesman Lt. General Prawut Thavornsiri earlier said police had questioned the motorcycle taxi driver but did not give details of what the man had told them.

Authorities are hunting for the man seen on a surveillance video putting a backpack under a bench in the shrine and then walking away shortly before the blast went off.

Beyond the yellow T-shirt and dark-framed glasses he was wearing, little is known so far about the man who police said that they were “very sure” is the bomber.

A reward of 1 million Thai baht ($28,000) is being offered for information leading to the suspect’s arrest

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