Report: Lebanese man admits to targeting Israelis in Thailand

(JTA) — A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported.

The suspect, Youssef Ayad, is a Filipino-Lebanese national and is held along with another Lebanon-born man, Daoud Farhat, who holds a French passport, The Bangkok Post reported Friday.

The men were arrested earlier this month in Thailand based on a tip from Israel, according to the report.

Ayad said he and Farhat had planned to attack Israeli tourists on Bangkok’s Khao San Road during Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year’s Day, celebrated in festivals from April 13 to April 15 and coinciding with Passover this year.

A third suspect, Bilal Bahsoun, is wanted for questioning but may not have entered Thailand, immigration police told the Post.

An unnamed source close to the investigation told the Post that investigators are trying to track down at least nine suspected foreign terrorists in Thailand allegedly connected to Hezbollah. They had planned to attack Israelis during Passover, the report said.

Ayad has visited Thailand 17 times. This was this was the first visit for Farhat, the Post reported. Both were born in Lebanon, according to identification documents still being verified, the report said.

Winai Thongsong, the assistant national police chief, said the men were arrested at different locations in Bangkok after Thai police received intelligence from Israel about a planned attack on Israeli tourists during Passover, the Post reported.

“Now we can seize materials, such as nails and bolts, used in making bombs from their homes in Bangkok,” a source told the Post.

Winai was quoted by the Post as saying that the suspects will be deported back to the last countries they traveled from immediately after Thai police finish questioning them. He did not name the countries.

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