Twenty two people were killed and more than 120 were wounded when a bomb exploded close to a shrine in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.
The Erawan Shrine is a popular tourist attraction.
Chinese tourists killed in the attack
As reported by CNN, national police Chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said that Chinese people who had been traveling from the Philippines had been killed in the explosion; the same was later verified by the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok. Three nationals were killed, in addition to 15 Chinese tourists who were injured, in the blast.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet.
Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said the perpetrators had “targeted foreigners… to damage tourism and the economy.”
“We will hunt them down,” he said.
— Kochakorn (@KochaOlarn) August 17, 2015
In a statement, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the United States will offer the Thailand authorities their support and cooperation in the investigation.
“The United States extends our deepest condolences to all of those affected by the explosion in Bangkok, Thailand. The United States condemns this deplorable act of violence, and our thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones, and the Thai emergency personnel responding to the incident,” he said.
Three kilograms of TNT shoved inside a pipe was discovered inside the shrine, as reported by the Bangkok Post. An electronic circuit believed to have been used in carrying out the attacks was found 30 meters from the scene.
Sanjeev Vyas, a DJ from Mumbai, India, was present at the scene.
“It was like this huge gust of wind and debris flying through you. And then I see bodies everywhere, there are cars on fire, there are bikes everywhere. People are screaming.”
Bomb suspected to be attached to motorcycle
According to 9news.com.au, the Ratchaprasong Junction was crowded with traffic and pedestrians when the bomb exploded at 6.30 p.m. local time (8.30 p.m. AEST). Other devices – including one found inside the shrine – were also discovered in close proximity. The bomb is believed to have been attached to a motorcycle.
“It was a bomb, I think it was inside a motorcycle … it was very big, look at the bodies,” one of the rescue volunteers said.
As reported by the New York Times, a woman was reportedly seen placing a bag near the shrine.
“They are just garbage bags,” Pumpanmuang said. “Our (explosives) team is still working at the site, and we will close down the traffic around the area until noon tomorrow.”
It is not known whether the woman is being treated as a suspect.
Maj. Gen. Sirwara Rangsribhramnakul said more security forces reinforcements had been deployed in the city.
The shrine is dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma.
The Ratchaprasong intersection, where the explosion occurred, has seen several political demonstrations in the last few years.
According to BBC, the Muslim insurgency has been majorly concentrated towards the south of the country. However, Bangkok has also seen its share of unrest between political groups in the past.
While the military acquired the ruling of the country in May last year, and unseated an elected government, Bangkok has remained nonviolent since then.
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