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August 18, 2015

Bangkok Bombing Threatens Travel

An explosion at the popular tourist attraction Erawan shrine in central Bangkok has killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 125, The Guardian is reporting. 

The site of the explosion, the Erawan shrine, is a major attraction for visitors from Asia, as well as Thai locals, The Guardian said. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, and is also popular among Buddhist travelers. 

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told The Guardian that the attack "is the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand." 

“There have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aimed for innocent lives,” Prayuth said. “They want to destroy our economy, our tourism.”

According to the Toronto Star, police have said that a mean wearing a yellow shirt who was caught leaving a backpack on CCTV footage "is the bomber."  

U.S. Embassy Statement

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok has issued an emergency message for U.S. citizens regarding the bombing. 

"U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Thailand are strongly advised to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/," the statement read. "U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in case of an emergency."

The U.S. Embassy is open for all routine services by appointment. No appointment is required for emergency assistance -- U.S. citizens can call the after-hours emergency telephone number at 66- 2-205-4000.

In a separate security message, the Embassy indicated that there was a suspicious explosion at the Sathorn Pier beneath the Taksin bridge along the Chao Phraya River the afternoon of August 18. There were no reports of damage or injuries from this explosion. 

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