Last Friday, Thai authorities arrested a Lebanese native with Swedish citizenship, identified as Atris Hussein, suspected of being involved in the Hezbollah terror group and planning an attack. The arrest came after Israel and the U.S. informed Bangkok back in December that three Hezbollah operatives with dual Lebanese-Swedish citizenship entered the country.
On Monday, Hussein led police to a warehouse of materials commonly used to make bombs, including more than 8,800 pounds of urea fertilizer and several gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate. It remains uncertain if Thailand was the target of the attack, or simply a transit point, as shipping containers were found in the warehouse.
Atris Hussein’s Swedish passport
Hussein was subsequently charged with possession of prohibited substances — the ammonium nitrate — and faces up to five years in jail. Police are currently seeking a court order to detain Hussein as they carry out further interrogations on the terrorist plot. They are also searching for a second man possibly involved in the scheme.
According to American officials, Bangkok may be a major hub for Hezbollah’s cocaine money-laundering network, through which it funds its terrorist enterprise. As the unfolding plot reveals, Bangkok may also be a hub for the terrorist group’s acquisition of weapons and similar material. As Matthew Levitt points out, Hezbollah is no stranger to Southeast Asia, just as it is no stranger to Latin America. As an Iranian proxy, Hezbollah’s arms reach far and wide. Although now a part of the Lebanese government, Hezbollah is also a global terrorist group and must be recognized as such.