Israeli travelers in Thailand were alarmed to hear Friday that two Hezbollah-linked terrorists had been arrested on suspicions of planning a terror attack against them.
A Thai security source said investigators believe at least nine Hezbollah-linked foreign terrorists are currently in Thailand, and that authorities are still searching for them.
But despite the bad news, the Jewish community in Bangkok continues to operate as usual. Thailand is a popular tourist spot for Israelis, particularly young post-army Israelis hoping to see the world.
At the Chabad center near Khao San Road in Bangkok, the tourist hotspot where the terror attack was supposed to have been launched, community leaders remain calm.
"We increased security before the holidays for fear of attacks, but we continue on with life as usual – and try to take maximum security precautions," Rabbi Nehemiah Wilhelm, director of Chabad in Bangkok, told Channel 2 Friday.
"There is no need to panic; we know that there are plans for [terror] attacks on us all the time," he continued. "Travelers\’ parents panic the most, but have no need to be alarmed. Israelis keep to themselves and do not stand out too much."
Several tourists told the Israeli news agency Friday morning that they were planning on returning to Israel following the news.
But other senior Jewish community leaders in Bangkok explained that the news – and the alarm – has been over-hyped.
"Everything goes on as usual and many Israelis are not concerned at all with the news, because they are still in transit," one official said. "We take the issue of security very seriously and guard [the community] faithfully."