Bangkok blast: US condemns blast, says too early to tell if it was terror attack

Police officers inspect the scene of an explosion near Erawan Shrine, central Bangkok, Thailand on Aug 17, 2015.
Police officers inspect the scene of an explosion near Erawan Shrine, central Bangkok, Thailand on Aug 17, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON - The United States has condemned the explosion at a renowned shrine in the Thai capital on Monday night and said it was too soon to tell if the blast was a terrorist attack.

"The United States extends our deepest condolences to all of those affected by the explosion in Bangkok, Thailand. The United States condemns this deplorable act of violence, and our thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones, and the Thai emergency personnel responding to the incident,'' said US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price .

"The United States will remain in close contact with the Thai authorities as they investigate this attack," he said in a statement.

 

Meantime, the US State Department said it was too soon to tell if the blast was a terrorist attack, Reuters reported.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said authorities in Thailand were investigating and had not requested assistance from US officials so far.

At least 19 people were killed by the blast - including one Chinese and one Philippine national - while more than 120 were wounded, many of them tourists who were visiting the popular streetside Erawan Shrine.

It is close to some of Bangkok's most popular upscale shopping malls and was packed with worshippers and tourists at the time of the attack.