Deadly Bomb Explosion Kills At Least 16 At Tourist Hotspot In Bangkok

An explosion in central Bangkok earlier today reportedly killed at least 16 people and injured about 80 others.

According to Reuters, the bomb detonated from a motorcycle, and Mashable reports the explosion occurred around 7 pm local time in front of the Hindu Erawan Shrine. Since it is a popular tourist attraction, there are numerous luxury hotels and upscale shopping centers located near the shrine in the Ratchaprasong neighborhood.

A paramedic reportedly said the explosion left a six-foot crater, and according to the BBC, police could not find any other bombs in the area.

Former Thai Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan suggested the attacker specifically targeted foreigners and wanted to scare people out of visiting Bangkok. He told Reuters,

The perpetrators intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because the incident occurred in the heart of the tourism district.

Of those injured, many are reported to be from China and Taiwan, along with at least one deceased from the Philippines.

Various political factions vying for power were reportedly blamed for previous small explosions, like the two pipe bombs that detonated near the site of today's bombing last February.

Mashable reports Thailand's government was dissolved in May of last year following a military coup, and the now-ruling military recently ignited significant tension by banning criticism of the government and declaring elections may be postponed until 2017.

Police have also battled a low-level Muslim insurgency based in southern Thailand, but most of the Muslim group's attacks took place within its homeland, Reuters reports.

Today's explosion left a small fire on the charred pavement.

The shining golden structure at the center is the Erawan Shrine.

Citations: Bomb in Thai capital kills 27 wounds 78 in bid to destroy economy (Reuters), Explosion in Bangkok rocks popular tourist area (Mashable), Deadly blast rocks Thailand capital (BBC)