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Man held in Bangkok terror alert

A man with alleged links to Hezbollah militants is being questioned by Thai police amid US warnings of a terror threat to its citizens in Bangkok.

Thai authorities received a tip-off before new year of a planned attack, which was said to target Israelis, said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung.

Police on Thursday detained one of two suspects from Lebanon with alleged links to Hezbollah. The man, held under immigration laws, was being interrogated.

Chalerm spoke hours after the US Embassy in Bangkok sent an "emergency message" to American citizens warning of a possible terrorist attack.

The message said that "foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future". It urged Americans to "keep a low profile" in public and to exercise caution in areas where Western tourists gather.

Ambassador Kristie Kenney said the threat was "real and very credible".

It was the first US warning of a foreign terror attack in Bangkok in recent memory.

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim militant group, is the most powerful military force in Lebanon, far stronger than even the national army. It is backed mainly by Iran and Syria and is strongly anti-Israel.

The terror warning comes during a period of heightened tension over US and Israeli responses to the prospect that Iran is going forward with developing nuclear weapons.

Iran sees possible US complicity in a series of assassinations of its nuclear experts - the latest Wednesday, when scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed by a bomb attached to his car.

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