An initial analysis based on the evidence we have so far.
18 August 2015
On August 17, at least one explosion occurred at 6:55 pm, Bangkok time, at the revered Erawan Shrine, located at the corner of Phloen Chit and Ratchadamri Road in Thailand. Officials have confirmed that at least 16 people were killed and more than 80 were wounded, though local media reports already suggest that the death toll could be much higher.
As authorities investigate, more details will come in, and the above information is expected to change. Accordingly, the party responsible has yet to be identified, but an initial analysis of the attack is possible based on what we know so far.
First, because of the location and timing of the explosion, the attackers meant for it to be an exceedingly high casualty event.
Location-wise, the Erawan Shrine is continually filled with tourists and worshippers. It’s situated on a busy intersection; it’s on the city’s most popular shopping street; it’s directly below a skywalk for Bangkok’s BTS/Skytrain; and it’s close to scores of eateries and the Grand Hyatt hotel. Hundreds of people pass by the shrine every 30 minutes on a daily basis.
Interestingly, this shrine is also next door to the Police Hospital, which itself is next to a major police headquarters building.
As for the timing, CCTV shows the explosion happening at 6:55 pm, when people in Bangkok are both getting off work and heading out for the evening
Second, the apparent placement of the devices also indicates the attackers wanted a high casualty event. Initial photo interpretation of the blast site (photos posted by The Independent here) shows a concrete post of the shrine’s fence nearly destroyed and the fence bent out toward the street (photo 6 of 10). This clearly indicates a blast occurred inside the fence line, which means an explosive device was placed inside the shrine’s perimeter. Photos of deceased persons inside the shrine area bolster this hypothesis (photo 2 of 10).
Outside on the street, photographs from the same source show motorcycles mangled and cut in half (in the upper left of photo 7 of 10), indicating they were very close or next to the explosion. It also suggests one of the motorcycles might have carried a device – even though Thai police have said that the bomb was eventually planted at the location by the attackers instead of hidden in a motorcycle. The overturned motorcycle on the right hand side of the same photo (toward the middle of the intersection) is less damaged, indicating it was further from the blast. This places additional suspicion on the other motorcycles as potential bomb carriers. Again, this is just an initial photographic interpretation….
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