Hezbollah doubts Thai arrest claims

Jan. 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A Lebanese national arrested Friday in Thailand isn't a member of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, a member of the group's political arm said.

A Lebanese national was arrested Friday in Thailand on suspicion of plotting attacks on sites in Bangkok popular with Western tourists. The Thai government said it believed the suspect was a member of the Shiite group Hezbollah, CNN International reports.

Ghaleb Abu Zeinab, a member of Hezbollah's political arm in the Lebanese government, was quoted by Lebanese news outlet Ya Libnan as saying the suspect in Thailand was "not one of Hezbollah's members."

The U.S. Embassy in Thailand warned in a Friday statement of plots by "foreign terrorists" against Western targets at some point "in the near future."

The Hezbollah official didn't offer specifics.

Peter Bergen, a terrorism analyst for the cable broadcaster who gained notoriety for being one of the few journalists to interview Osama bin Laden, said claims of Hezbollah activity in Thailand are "surprising."

"Historically, Hezbollah hasn't had an active presence in Thailand," he said.

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