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Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Asia

Two Lebanese in Thai custody over possible Hezbollah ties

The Nation/ANN | Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

The recent case follows another one when Atris Hussein (shown here), allegedly a member of Hezbollah, was arrested on January 16, 2012, with a large amount of fertiliser stored in a shophouse in Samut Sakhon that he had rented.

Two suspected foreign terrorists have been held for questioning regarding possible involvement with the Islamist Hezbollah militant group, the National Security Council confirmed yesterday.

However, "we have found no links with the group at this stage. Israel has mentioned this group but there is no conclusion yet that the men are members of the group," said Paradorn Pattanatabut, secretary-general of the NSC. The suspects are still being questioned.

The militant group based in Lebanon has fought with Israel for years. Both sides have engaged in fighting and attacks that have resulted in the loss of lives.

A high-ranking source identified the two men as Lebanese-French Daud Farhat and Lebanese-Philippine Yousef Ayyad.

They were separately visited during the Songkran break by Immigration Police and taken from their homes in Sukhumvit.

Both have been on the Thai immigration watch list for being possible members of Hezbollah, the source said.

"Their presence in Thai territory near the Jewish Passover, which this year fell on April 13, aroused the Thai side's suspicions, so the Thai side decided to take them into custody for questioning after a fatal shooting in the US during Passover," the source said.

Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. This year, Passover coincided with Thailand's Songkran.

The pair are being detained under immigration laws as their visas were already revoked, the source said, while declining to add whether they would be deported.

Referring to news reports that there was a third Lebanese, the source said Bailal Bahsoun, who is also on the watch list, did not enter the country.

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