Thailand’s army chief on Monday hinted that the bomb blast at a popular shrine in Bangkok that killed 22 people may have indeed been a terror attack, according to Reuters.
While he did specifically say the bombing was a terrorist attack, he did say the bombing did not match the tactics used by separatist rebels in southern Thailand.
Thai officials have yet to blame any group for the bombing at the Erawan shrine, which the government called a bid to destroy the economy. No one has claimed responsibility, noted Reuters.
National police chief Somyot Poompanmuang told reporters the attack was unprecedented in Thailand. He said the blast was caused by a pipe bomb.
Three Chinese were among the dead, the official Xinhua news agency said. Two Hong Kong residents, two people from Malaysia and one person from the Philippines had also been killed, officials said. Scores of people were wounded, including many from China and Taiwan.
A member of a local search and rescue team at the site said earlier on Monday that no Israelis were among the dead in the blast, though the area in which the blast occurred is one that is filled with shopping centers and is popular among Israeli tourists.
Thai forces are fighting a low-level Muslim insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country's south, but those rebels have rarely launched attacks outside their heartland, noted Reuters.
"This does not match with incidents in southern Thailand. The type of bomb used is also not in keeping with the south," Royal Thai Army chief and deputy defense minister General Udomdej Sitabutr said in a televised interview.
More than 6,500 people have been killed in the long-running insurgency since 2004.
Thai national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said the death toll stood at 22 from the bombing, with 123 people wounded.
Earlier on Monday, the State Department in Washington said it was too soon to tell if the blast was a terrorist attack.
State spokesman John Kirby said authorities in Thailand were investigating and had not requested assistance from U.S. officials so far.