Thai police find bomb on parked truck near Phuket stationBy AP News Dec 24, 2013 12:54PM UTC
PHUKET, Thailand (AP) — Police on the Thai resort island of Phuket said Monday they found an apparent improvised explosive device in a pickup truck parked for two weeks near their station.
Police Maj. Gen. Ong-arj Puewruengnon said two 15-kilogram (33-pound) cooking gas tanks were hooked up to a timer and detonator in the vehicle. It was discovered when police were clearing a parking area for year-end celebrations. It was unclear whether the device was actually rigged to explode.
He said there was no indication who put the device in the truck, which had been parked since Dec. 8 and discovered Saturday. Ong-arj said the vehicle had been stolen in the neighboring province of Songkhla from a man who was shot dead in May.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s three Muslim-dominated southernmost provinces since an Islamic insurgency erupted in 2004, but the hostilities have not spread north to Phuket. Neither have fears of terrorism by regional jihadists, such as those who have hit targets in Indonesia, been realized.
Although most of the violence has been in the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, three bombs exploded this past Sunday in Songkhla, injuring more than two dozen people in what appeared to be an attack by Islamic insurgents.
The discovery of the apparent car bomb sitting undisturbed near a police station was reminiscent of a 1994 case in Bangkok, where a truck made into a huge fertilizer bomb was parked in the city center across from a police station. It had been seized after it was involved in a traffic accident and its driver fled the scene. Only when the rental company came to recover the vehicle six days later were its contents discovered.
Several Iranians were arrested in connection with what was believed to have been a planned attack on the Israeli Embassy, but all were eventually released.