BEIRUT: One of the two suspected Hezbollah members held in Thailand confessed to planning an attack against Israeli tourists on April 13 during the Jewish festival of Passover, the Bangkok Post reported Friday.
French-Lebanese national Daoud Farhat and Lebanese-Filipino national Youssef Ayad were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of having links to Hezbollah.
The two arrived in Thailand several days before Passover which also coincided with the Thai festival of Songkran.
Although it was Farhat’s first trip to the country, Ayad had visited Thailand 17 times before, the paper said.
The post quoted Assistant National Police Chief Winai Thongsong as saying that the men were arrested at different locations in Bangkok after Thai police received intelligence from Israel about a planned attack during Passover in Khao San Road, popular among Israeli tourists.
The paper also quoted an anonymous investigator saying that police were in pursuit of at least nine people suspects of having links to Hezbollah.
A source close to the investigation told the post that Ayyad confessed “his group entered Thailand to carry out a bomb attack against Israeli tourists and other Israeli groups on Khao San Road during Songkran.”
"Now we can seize materials, such as nails and bolts, used in making bombs from their homes in Bangkok,” the source said.
"We are taking the holder of the Philippines passport to Rayong province to search for more bomb-making material kept there," the source added, noting that the arrest of the men foiled the attack.
Winai said the two men would be deported back to the last countries they traveled from after police finalize their investigation.
National Security Council chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut confirmed Thai authorities are focusing on the capture of another foreign terrorist.
Original reports indicated that a three-member Hezbollah ring allegedly entered Thailand but the post said the third suspect, identified as Bilal Bahsoun, may not have entered the country.