At least 27 people are dead and 78 injured in an explosion that rocked the area near the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, Thailand.
Thai officials say a second bomb has been safely destroyed and a third located
The explosion took place at the Rajprasong intersection, located in Bangkok’s commercial hub. It’s been the site of several political demonstrations in recent years. The bomb reportedly detonated in front of the Erawan shrine, a popular shrine to the Hindu god Brahma, where thousands of Buddhist devotees and tourists visit every day.
CCTV video shows pedestrians running from a flash of bright orange light near the Erawan Shrine near shopping malls and five-star hotels in Bangkok’s Chitlom district.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast at the Erawan shrine at a major city-centre intersection. Thai forces are fighting a low-level Muslim insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country’s south, but those rebels have rarely launched attacks outside their ethnic Malay heartland.
“The perpetrators intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because the incident occurred in the heart of the tourism district,” Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told Reuters.
The Reuters news agency quoted deputy national police chief Aek Angsananond as saying a “motorcycle bomb” exploded near the Erawan Shrine, which is close to a popular shopping and tourist area in central Bangkok. The shrine draws a steady stream of worshipers and other visitors, including foreign visitors.
The Ratchprasong intersection where the bombing occurred has been the site of massive political protests in the past decade and a target for bombers. Two bombs on the Ratchprasong Skywalk outside the the nearby Siam Paragon shopping mall in February injured two people and are believed to have been politically motivated. A car bomb exploded in the parking garage a Central Festival Koh Samui in April.