At least 18 people have been killed and 78 wounded by a bomb blast that hit the commercial centre of the Thai capital Bangkok. The blast, which was said to have taken place near the Erawan Shrine, occurred about 7.10pm local time, according to the Bangkok Post. In an earlier report, Reuters had said that at least 27 people had died, including four foreigners. Aljazeera reports:
Nearby offices have reportedly been evacuated, according to reports on social media. The bomb was placed inside the Erawan Shrine area, Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said. “It was a TNT bomb… the people who did it targeted foreigners and to damage tourism and the economy,” said Wongsuwong. Thai police said a second bomb is being defused inside the shrine.
Al Jazeera’s Veronice Pedrosa, reporting from the scene, said that rescue workers have told journalists that a secondary device has been found inside the shrine itself and the bomb squad are diffusing it. Eric Seldin, of Thaicom Production Services, was 100 metres away when the explosion happened.
“I was inside the Hyatt hotel having dinner when we heard an extremely loud explosion near the Ratchaprasong intersection,” he told Al Jazeera. “The windows were shattered and everyone at the hotel was startled.