Interpol says no credible threat of ISIS attack in Thailand

 Thai armed security police officers guard the Embassy of Russia in Bangkok, Thailand.
Thai armed security police officers guard the Embassy of Russia in Bangkok, Thailand.PHOTO: EPA

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Interpol director said on Tuesday (Dec 8) there was "no credible" threat of an attack by suspected members of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) following a warning by the Russian intelligence service that 10 Syrians linked to the extremist group had entered the country.

A document from Thai Special Branch police leaked to social media showed it had been warned by Russia's Federal Security Service that the 10 Syrians had entered Thailand between Oct 15 and Oct 31 to target Russian interests.

Confirmation on Friday that the document was real prompted Thailand to step up security around potential targets including the cities of Pattaya and Phuket, home to large Russian communities. Officials have called for calm.

Thailand's Interpol director, Police Major General Apichart Suribunya, said that Interpol and Special Branch were both looking out for intelligence but that there was no credible threat of an attack in Thailand.

"We get warnings like this many times. There is no critical intelligence of IS (ISIS) presence in Thailand," Apichart told Reuters. "There is no credible threat of an IS attack, not now. From Interpol, there is no critical intelligence and no credible threat of an IS attack in Thailand."

Thailand said on Sunday it was looking for four Syrian nationals who had overstayed their visas, but did not suggest the men were a security threat.

Police later cleared three of four of any possible links to ISIS. They did not comment on a fourth man.

An official at the Russian Embassy in Bangkok was no immediately available for comment.

Russia began air strikes against ISIS in Syria at the end of September. An ISIS-linked group claimed it brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai peninsula in October, killing all 224 people on board.

In August, 20 people were killed in a bomb attack at Bangkok's famed Erawan shrine. Police have said the attack was in retaliation for a crackdown on human smuggling gangs earlier this year and said it was not a terrorist attack.