A bomb blast near Bangkok’s famous Erawan Shrine has killed more than a dozen people, reportedly mostly East Asian tourists, and injured more than 100 Monday evening. CCTV footage of the powerful blast has been embedded below.
According to latest reports, the death toll stands at 20 now, 12 of whom were killed immediately while six more died at hospital.
At least nine of the casualties were foreign nationals. Three of the seven bodies that have not been identified yet are also believed to be foreigners.
Of the 125 people injured in the blast, at least 38 are foreign nationals, mostly Chinese. The nationalities of 44 of the injured are not known yet. Some are severely injured, so the death toll may still rise.
A first bomb went off just before 7 p.m. while two more bombs were deactivated by 8 p.m. No political group has claimed responsibility for the attack and the motives remain unclear.
The Erawan Shrine is an important religious site and popular tourist attraction at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok’s Pathum Wan district. It is of huge spiritual, social and political significance. The intersection in the heart of downtown Bangkok is one of the busiest commercial crossroads of the capital and home to many shopping malls and upscale hotels. The area has also been the main site of the April/May 2010 “red shirt” protests that culminated in a bloody military crackdown.
The Bangkok Post reports:
A bomb explosion inside one of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions killed at least 19 people and injured 123 others – mostly foreign tourists – on Monday. Of the 19 dead victims, 12 died at the scene. (…)
A improvised explosive device fastened to a utility pole inside the Erawan shrine complex at the Ratchaprasong intersection detonated at 6.55pm. The scale of the explosion set motorbikes and taxis ablaze inside the intersection and bowed the iron fence of the Hindu shrine outward.
Casualties were immediate, with body parts scattered across the area, with broken glass and the smouldering wreckage of burned-out motorcycles left behind.
Military and police, including national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang, rushed to the scene and two more devices, found attached to stanchions for the BTS Skytrain, were found in the hour after the blast. Military explosive ordnance-disposal technicians defused both without incident. (…)
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan (…) said it was too soon to say if the attacks were politically motivated or terrorism [sic].
Police said the IED that exploded inside the shrine area was composed of three kilogrammes of TNT stuffed in a pipe and wrapped with white cloth. Its destructive radius was estimated at 100 metres. (…)
Most of those injured in the explosion were said to be predominantly Asian tourists, with the majority taken to Police General Hospital. (…)
The bomb left a gruesome scene. Photos showed blood, bodies and human remains around the shrine as rescue workers rushed to provide aid near the popular landmark, which is heavily frequented by both Thais and tourists alike and is especially busy during rush hour. (…)
Photos from the scene appeared to show an injured Caucasian woman being taken away on a stretcher. (…)
Here’s CCTV footage of the bomb blast: