Russia sent a letter to the authorities in Thailand regarding the entry of ten Syrians linked to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) in the country, and warned that they could carry out attacks to target Russians and others who are against the terrorist group.
Major Generall Songpol Wattanachai, the deputy spokesman for the national police in Thailand confirmed the authenticity of the letter marked top secret and urgent, which was widely circulated to the local media on Thursday.
The letter from the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russian indicated that the group of Syrians entered Thailand between October 15 and 31.
The terrorists traveled separately and went to different places in the country— four went to Pattaya, two went to Phuket, two to Bangkok, and the other two went to an unknown location, according to the FSB.
The FSB did not provide the names of the suspected terrorists, but indicated that their “purpose is to create bad incidents to affect Russians and Russia’s alliance with Thailand.”
Thailand National Security Council said everything is safe
According to Major General Wattanachai, they haven’t verified the information from Russia. He said,” So far it’s only intelligence news that still needs to be proved. We have no proof if they are here for real or not.
The Thai police urged security officials to verify the threat and intensify security at potential targets whose countries support the fight against the Islamic State particularly Russia, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, and Australia.
Thailand’s National Security Council Chief General Thawip Netniyom said, “We have yet to find any unusual movement. Everything is safe, rest assured.”
In an interview with Reuters, Thailand’s Immigration Bureau Commissioner Nathathorn Prausoontorn said 231 Syrian entered the country in October. Only 21 remained and “no irregularities” were observed among them.
Phuket intensified security measures
Santi Udomkiratak, the Russian Federation Deputy Honorary Consul to Phuket, said he and some Thai officials were informed about the threat last month. According to him, he contacted the Phuket Provincial Police and the Governor immediate to ensure that all security measures at in place.
“The warning specifically noted that security should be increased around Russian buildings and personnel, so we have installed more CCTV at the consulate and increased the frequency of our security rounds,” according to Mr. Santi.
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Teeraphol Thipjaroen said, “There is no reason to make a big deal about this and cause panic. We have been on full alert and taking all necessary actions to prevent any attacks. Authorities are doing their best to hunt down the suspects.
Nonetheless, we still need the cooperation of the community. If anyone sees any suspicious activity, please inform the police.”
Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada also emphasized that there is “absolutely no need to panic” because the province is not anyone’s enemy. He added that they increased the security measures at beaches, crowded community centers, and other tourist attractions to ensure the safety of visitors.
Bangkok Temple bombing
In August, a temple in Bankok was bombed, the first major attack that killed 20 people. Authorities arrested and charged two people linked to the Muslim Uighur minority, which is involved in smuggling people.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian jetliner in Egypt that killed 224 people in October. A retaliation to Russia’s air strikes in Syria. The terrorist group also claimed responsibility for the series of attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people.
Sidney Jones, an expert on Southeast Asian Islamist movements at the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, commented that the Islamic State cells in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asa are becoming more serious about establishing a more formal structure.
United States Intensifies Efforts to Kill to ISIL Leader al-Baghdadi
Meanwhile, the United States intensified its effort to capture and kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group, according to an official in the Obama Administration.
The US-led coalition in the fight against the terrorist group is finding and killing mid to high-level Islamic State leaders every two days, according to the officials who requested anonymity to Bloomberg.The official said eliminating al-Baghdadi is an important goal. The leader of the terrorist group is hiding.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently announced that the U.S. is “deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force” to Iraq to work with Iraqi and Kurdish troops and to conduct operations in Syria.