There have been a number of unexpected attacks in the capital:
A senior police spokesman says at least 12 people have been injured in Bangkok after four bombs exploded in the Thai capital as revellers were preparing to bring in the New Year.
The four explosions are thought to have happened within 90 minutes of each other across the capital, beginning at 5:30pm (local time) at central Bangkok’s Victory Monument.
“I have received reports of bombs at Victory Monument which injured four people. The second site was at Klong Toey which injured six people, two of them children,” Ajiravid Subarnbhesaj, national police spokesman, said on Thai television.
Some violence was predicted but Bangkok wasn’t the expected target:
The government had warned of an attack over the New Year holiday, but it was widely believed the warnings related to the troubled southern provinces of the country, where insurgent groups have waged an ongoing battle against the government for many years.
Now reports are mentioning grenade and bomb attacks:
Early reports said there were six explosions in various parts of the capital. Two were reported near the Klong Toey market, where one person was killed, and near the busy Victory Monument, where two people were reported killed and more than a dozen wounded.
Graphic footage shown on television showed damaged vehicles and blood-stained streets and pavements.
TV reports said a man was seen throwing a grenade off a pedestrian overpass near a police box in the Saphan Kwai area of Bangkok, injuring several people in the explosion.
At Seacon Square in eastern Bangkok, Asia’s largest mall, an explosion in the outdoor parking lot sent hundreds of shoppers scrambling, but no injurites were reported.
Islamists may be behind these attacks but it’s difficult to tell at the moment:
In addition, some intelligence sources had suggested in the past two weeks that Islamist extremists leading the southern insurgency might try to spread their attacks to the capital. They have never operated out of the deep South.
The Bangkok bombings, however, bore little resemblance to bomb attacks in the South, which usually involve improvised explosive devices (IEDs) copied from the Iraq model, and set off by mobile phones, and vehicle bombs, especially in motorcycles.
The BBC believes it’s coup-related:
Our Bangkok correspondent says many Thais suspect the bombs were the work of opponents of the current military government, which forced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from office in September.
Thailand’s internal conflicts are confusing as hell. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing everything.
Counterterrorism Blog: The low profile targets at first led me and other analysts that I spoke with to discount the involvement of Muslim militants from the deep south. While I have long argued that they have never taken the option of targeting Bangkok off the table, nor are they ideologically against it, at the time they really don’t need to change their strategy. At this point the insurgents are winning (they certainly are not losing). What the attack seemed to reflect was ongoing elite strife over the 19 September coup. There have been several bombings in Bangkok in the past few years, but all have been linked to elite conflicts, not the insurgency. The higher profile bombing of the Siam Paragon – which this author was in shopping with his children a few hours before the blast – might mean something altogether. Then again, it could be the police or other forces disgruntled with the military’s takeover and simply be an attempt to discredit and destabilize the regime. The police are wildly unhappy about the reforms that the military is going to soon force on the police. Yet one of the bombs was placed at a small police kiosk wounding several police officers.