BANGKOK: Amid warnings from the US and Israel of a possible terrorist attack, Thai officials say they have arrested a Lebanese man they believe is a member of Hezbollah in connection with a plot to attack tourists in Bangkok.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, said the arrest was made after weeks of co-operation with Israel after a tip-off late last month.
Mr Chalerm told Thai television the Israeli government had passed on information that ''a group of people who appear to be from the Lebanese group Hezbollah'' were planning to strike tourist sites in Bangkok in mid-January. The US and Israel regard Hezbollah, a militant Shiite group with strong ties to Iran and significant political power in Lebanon, as a terrorist organisation.
Concerns about a possible attack come amid growing tension between Iran and both Israel and the US.
In Beirut a Hezbollah spokesman, Ghaleb Abu Zainab, rejected the Thai claims, telling LBC television the arrested man ''is not one of Hezbollah's members''.
US officials in Washington confirmed the Thai statements on a suspected Hezbollah connection but they did not give any further details. They said Bangkok was a hub for a Hezbollah-controlled cocaine money-laundering network.