Newspaper article International New York Times

4 Dead and Dozens Hurt in Thai Blasts Attributed to Separatist Insurgents

Newspaper article International New York Times

4 Dead and Dozens Hurt in Thai Blasts Attributed to Separatist Insurgents

Article excerpt

The stricken areas included the coastal resort of Hua Hin and the island of Phuket. A Thai official called the attacks the work of "the same network."

A series of bombings struck five provinces in Thailand, mostly at sites popular with tourists, on Thursday and Friday, in what a senior Thai official called a coordinated wave of attacks. Four people were killed and dozens wounded, the police said.

Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy prime minister in the military- run government, said the attacks were "absolutely conducted by the same network."

"I believe so," he continued. "But the investigation is unclear on who actually did it, what are the reasons behind it."

Another senior official later described the bombings as "local sabotage," not terrorism. No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Two bombs went off in the resort city of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province late on Thursday evening, killing one woman and wounding 21 other people, the police said. Hours earlier, a bombing near a market in Trang Province killed one person and wounded six.

On Friday morning, more explosions struck in Hua Hin, killing another person and wounding three, and on the popular resort island of Phuket, where one person was wounded, the police said. Two bombs also went off in the province of Surat Thani, leaving one person dead, and two near a market in Phang Nga Province; officials said there were no casualties there.

Bombings are not uncommon in Thailand's deep south, where a separatist insurgency has raged, but they are rare in areas frequented by tourists, like Hua Hin and Phuket.

These were the first such attacks since a bombing last August at a famous shrine in the heart of Bangkok that killed 20 people.

A spokesman for the national police, Maj. Gen. Piyapan Pingmuang, said there was no evidence of a connection to international terrorism. "This is different from the terrorism that has taken place in many countries," he said. "This is local sabotage."

Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington who researches politics and security in Southeast Asia, doubted that southern insurgents were behind the blasts. …

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