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Monday, January 16, 2012

Lebanese terror suspect charged in Thailand; may have targeted synagogue

From The Local (Sweden):

A man carrying a Swedish passport who was arrested on terror suspicions in Thailand last week was indicted on Monday after leading police to a massive stash of bomb-making materials.

According to reports in the Swedish and international press, the man is 47-year-old Hussein Atris, a former Lebanese-born barber who lived for many years in western Sweden before moving back to Lebanon seven years ago.

Atris took Swedish citizenship after marrying a Swedish woman in 1996, Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Atris , who has alleged ties to Hezbollah, was arrested in Thailand last week following a warning from United States about a threat against tourists in the kingdom.

Following a tip from Atris, Thai police on Monday morning carried out a raid at a warehouse where they discovered more than 4,000 kilogrammes of fertilizer and several litres of liquid ammonium nitrate at a warehouse, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported, citing Thai media reports.

Citing anonymous sources, the AP reported that Atris told police he had rented the warehouse last year along with three other accomplices.

Later on Monday, Atris was charged with illegal possession of explosives material, the AP reported.

According to his wife, Atris was in Thailand on business at the time of his arrest.

A senior Thai intelligence officer who did not want to be named told AFP that the kingdom had been informed before the New Year by Israel of a possible threat.
The New York Times reported on Friday:
Amid public warnings from the United States and Israel of a possible terrorist attack, Thai officials said Friday that they had arrested a Lebanese man believed to be a member of Hezbollah in connection with a plot to strike tourists in Bangkok.

The country’s defense minister, Gen. Yuthasak Sasiprapha, said the plot may have involved using car bombs at tourist sites, synagogues and the Israeli Embassy. He said Israel intelligence agents first informed the authorities in Thailand on Dec. 22 that two or three men were suspected of plotting an attack in Bangkok, the Thai capital.
There is a Chabad House in Bangkok, making one wonder if this was meant to be a Mumbai-type attack (which is Debka's conjecture, h/t Yoel)