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Bangkok travel warnings follow Valentine's Day blasts
The United States and United Kingdom urge citizens to be extra cautious when visiting the Thai capital
In a statement posted on its website, the U.S. Embassy said: "This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand that a series of explosions occurred in the vicinity of Sukhumvit Soi 71 in Bangkok on the afternoon of February 14.
"As a reminder we encourage U.S. citizens to maintain a heightened awareness when in public. Be alert for unattended packages/bags in public and report any suspicious behavior to the nearest law enforcement personnel."
Government officials have charged two Iranians. A third suspect was arrested by authorities in Malaysia. Thai officials also have an arrest warrant for a woman in connection with the blasts in Bangkok, which wounded at least five people. She is believed to have left Thailand.
The first bomb Tuesday went off in a rental house in Bangkok believed to be leased to foreigners, according to Thai authorities. After the blast, two of the men left the scene while a third detonated two more bombs -- one when a taxi driver refused to give him a ride, and another when he tried to throw a bomb at police officers as they closed in on him.
The last bomb exploded near the man, blowing off his legs, authorities said. He was taken to Chulalongkorn General Hospital for treatment and Iranian documents were found on him.
'There is a high threat of terrorism'
The blasts come barely two weeks after several countries withdrew travel advisories warning their citizens of possible terrorist attacks in Bangkok that were issued following an earlier alert from the United States.
"This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future," said the January 13 advisory, which led many countries to follow suit.
Quick to minimize the impact the blasts will have on tourism, deputy secretary-general to the PM Thitima Chaisang was quoted by Thai English-language daily The Nation as denying the incidents were acts of terrorism: "This is not sabotage or related to the travel advisories issued [after last month's terrorism scare] by many countries. Police now know where the [suspect is]."
Nevertheless, the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises its nationals to be on guard: "There is a high threat of terrorism. Bomb and grenade attacks have been indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travelers.
"We therefore advise visitors to exercise vigilance and keep abreast of local security advice and media reports."