Explosion Rocks Bangkok, ThailandAugust 18, 2015 in Thailand
A bomb blast has torn through the commercial centre of Thailand’s capital Bangkok, killing at least 21 people and wounding 120 more. Police have confirmed that the dead include 10 Thais, one Chinese national and one Filipino. The nationalities of the others who died in the explosion are still being determined.
The explosive device, believed to be a 3 kilogram pipe bomb, went off at about 19:00 local time (12:00 GMT) on Monday near the Erawan Hindu shrine, a major tourist attraction just off the Ratchaprasong intersection. Police officials have confirmed that a second, similar device was found at the scene of the explosion and has been removed by bomb disposal experts. Nearby offices were evacuated and the intersection was cleared while the operation was in progress, as police officers feared that the second device might explode at any moment. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Described by Prayuth Chan-ocha as “the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand” , the Thai Prime Minister has accused the attackers of targeting innocent lives and wanting to destroy the country’s economy and tourism. While it is not yet clear who was behind the attack and what their motives were, Prayuth has said that authorities are searching for a individual who was captured CCTV near the scene of the bombing.
Speculation has been rife as the the attacker’s allegiances, with some suggesting Malay Muslim insurgents from the country’s south who have been fighting Thai rule for over a decade and others accusing the Red Shirt movement, an anti-government group from the North East. A less plausible alternative is that Chinese Uighurs, the Muslim minority group from Xinjiang region in western China, targeted the site, which is known to be popular with Chinese tourists. If this were the case, and it seems unlikely that it is, it could conceivably be in retaliation for the deportation of 100 Uighurs from Thailand to China last month.