BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hezbollah planned to attack Israeli tourists

  • This combo picture shows three suspected Hezbollah members, from left, Daoud Farhat, Youssef Ayad and Bilal Bahsoun, in Thailand.

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 a Thai festival.

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 police were in pursuit of at least nine others suspected 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.”

Winai said the two men would be deported after the investigation.

National Security Council chief Lt. Gen. Paradorn Pattanatabut confirmed authorities were focusing on the capture of another foreigner.

Original reports indicated that a three-member Hezbollah ring allegedly entered Thailand but the post said the third suspect, Bilal Bahsoun, may not have.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 19, 2014, on page 2.
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Summary

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.

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.

Original reports indicated that a three-member Hezbollah ring allegedly entered Thailand but the post said the third suspect, Bilal Bahsoun, may not have.


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