The Thai government has vowed to “hunt down” those responsible for a rush hour bombing in the capital Bangkok.
The explosion happened close to the popular Erawan Shrine#, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 120 others.
Foreign tourists are among the casualties.
In a statement Thailand’s national police chief Somyot Poompummuang, said the blast radius of the bomb was about 100 metres and experts estimate the device weighed about 3 kg.
“body parts strewn across the street”
Witnesses have described graphic scenes of the carnage after the explosion with body parts scattered everywhere. A local taxi driver described hearing the blast. he said, “ My heart was beating fast but I wasn’t afraid so I came to see. I saw wounded people with arms ripped off from the shoulder, another’s leg was torn off. I helped carry them into the hospital,” said Sithit Manukham.
The explosion was caught on CCTV.
The well known shrine is right next to a five-star hotel and people around it were hit by the full force of the blast. Some think Thailand’s tourist industry was the target.
Who is to blame?
No one has claimed responsibility and experts thinks it’s unlikely that Muslim rebels fighting a low level insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country’s south are involved.
Thailand has been riven for a decade by an intense and sometimes violent struggle for power between political factions in Bangkok.
Occasional small blasts have been blamed on one side or the other. Two pipe bombs exploded outside a luxury shopping mall in the same area in February, but cause little damage.
Police said that attack was aimed at raising tension when the city was under martial law.
The army has ruled Thailand since May 2014, when it ousted an elected government after months of at times violent anti-government protests.
The shrine intersection was the site of months of anti-government protests in 2010 by supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Dozens were killed in a military crackdown and a shopping centre was set ablaze.