Israelis Near Bangkok Bombing Reminded of Terror Attacks Back Home
The major terror bombing on Monday near a shrine in central Bangkok that killed at least 16 people and wounded 50 others was a cruel reminder to vacationing Israelis of the terror attacks they have also endured back home, witnesses told Israel’s NRG news.
Thailand’s capital is a popular tourist destination for many Israeli travelers, and the location of the attack, the MBK shopping complex, is considered a well-known Israeli hot spot.
Eilat residents Anat Rosen-Seri and her husband, who were vacationing in the city, were near the site when the blast occurred: “We went out from the center across from the CentralWorld [shopping plaza] to put our shopping bags in our room at the nearby Indira hotel, and three minutes later we heard a loud explosion,” said Rosen-Seri.
“There were a lot of people in the streets,” she continued, “and we didn’t understand what had happened. After half an hour we came back as we’d planned, and there was chaos in the streets, several police cars and ambulances and people were in the area.”
She said, “unfortunately, it reminded me of watching the news in Israel. We try to keep moving and not let the incident affect us too much.”
Arik Krogliak from Rishon LeZion, visiting Thailand with his wife and 10 year old son, was in the massive MBK complex when the blast occurred: “An hour ago we went to MBK to eat. We didn’t hear the explosion inside the mall, and the building wasn’t evacuated. When we came outside we saw a lot of ambulances and a lot of police officers at the intersections. They hadn’t cleared the intersections yet and the streets were jammed with rescue vehicles.”
Krogliak and his family then returned to their hotel, near the blast site. He said, “there was the feeling of a terrorist attack. Everywhere people were glued to the TV, and my son was a little scared. It was an unpleasant situation and the reason for the explosion was unclear.”
Nechemya Wilhelm, rabbi of the local Chabad Jewish outreach center, told NRG that the attack occurred far away from their facilities, and that he had no additional details to share. As in Nepal during the massive earthquake last April, Chabad centers often become gathering places for Israelis caught in disasters abroad.
On the Chabad center’s Facebook page, Wilhelm called on concerned Israeli tourists to contact his house of worship rather than the Israeli embassy because he was already fielding numerous phone calls from worried parents. The rabbi also offered Israeli tourists the use of the Chabad House’s phone lines for free.
The Israeli embassy began operating under emergency protocol, especially as Thailand has been the site of multiple attempts by Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah and others to launch attacks against Israeli targets.
The Foreign Ministry said there were no known Israeli casualties in the attack.