| Dhaka, Thursday, 22 February 2024

Bangkok bomb shrine regenerate 

Update : 2015-08-19 10:42:57
Bangkok bomb shrine regenerate 

Thai monks led prayers on Wednesday for the reopening of a Bangkok shrine where a blast killed 20 people, as police hunted a man shown on security footage calmly planting what is believed to be the bomb.

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The bomb struck early on Monday evening as worshippers and tourists crowded into the Erawan shrine in the Thai capital`s commercial heart, but no-one has yet claimed responsibility.

The unprecedented attack on the Thai capital left at least 11 foreigners dead, with Chinese, Hong Kong, Singaporean, Indonesian and a family from Malaysia among the victims.

More than 100 other people were wounded by a blast that shredded bodies and incinerated motorcycles at one of the city`s busiest intersections.

Police said a second explosion at a Bangkok pier on Tuesday that caused no injuries may be linked, deepening fears for Bangkok residents with police conceding they do not know who was responsible.

Around a dozen Buddhist monks led prayers at the Erawan shrine as it re-opened early Wednesday while devotees -- including tourists -- genuflected and held joss sticks, and AFP reporter said.

A relative of the dead Malaysians had laid bundles of clothes at the shrine to represent the lost loved ones, according to a monk.

The shrine -- a popular tourist attraction that typifies the kingdom`s unusual blend of Hindu and Buddhist traditions -- and its surrounding had already been largely restored.

Twisted iron railings were the only immediate sign of the carnage, which police believe was caused by a bomb made up of three kilogrammes of explosives and ball bearings.

One devotee had more reason than most to give thanks.

Tommy Goh, 56, a Thai-Malaysian from Penang, said only a delayed taxi from his hotel spared him from being at the shrine around the time of the blast.

"Every year I come down to this shrine, we were meant to be here around 6.50-7pm but the taxi didn`t arrive from the hotel... so we went somewhere else," he told AFP.

"Ten minutes later and it could have been so different"

Police released images Tuesday showing a man, apparently young, slightly built and wearing a yellow T-shirt and dark shorts, walking into the shrine with a backpack.

In the video he calmly places the backpack underneath a bench and then walks away clutching a blue plastic bag and what looks like a smartphone.

The bomb exploded several minutes later, leading Thailand police to make the man their prime suspect.

A small explosion on Tuesday by a bridge at the city`s Chaopraya river has been tied to Monday`s bomb.

Colonel Kamthorn Ouicharoen, of Thai bomb squad police confirmed the bridge bomb was the same type as the one detonated at the Erawan Shrine

"It`s exactly the same, the equipment used to make it, the bomb size," he said.

"Police will resume collecting evidence this afternoon," he added.

Thailand has experienced a near-decade long political crisis that has seen endless rounds of street violence.

But never anything on the scale of Monday`s bomb.

A festering insurgency by Muslim rebels in the Thai south has claimed 6,400 victims, but is a highly localised conflict.

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