'Three dead' in Thailand blasts

At least three people have died after three bombs exploded in department stores in southern Thailand, police and army officials said.

    The south has been hit by an Islamist insurgency since 2004

    The bombs detonated at around 8.20 pm local time in Songkhla province's Hat Yai city, said Lieutenant General Ongkorn Thongprasom, the regional army commander.

     

    Several people were reported wounded in the attacks and were sent to nearby hospitals.

     

    Local television pictures showed images of bloodied victims lying in restaurants or being led to safety by rescue workers.

     

    There were reports that up to five people had died but these could not be confirmed. 

     

    One of the dead was a Western tourist, reportedly a Canadian citizen, police sources said.

     

    Security forces have cordoned off the areas around the bomb sites and jammed mobile phone transmissions to prevent further blasts, police said.

     

    Southern insurgency

     

    The Hat Yai city is the largest in the country's south and is popular with Singaporean and Malaysian tourists who do their shopping there.

     

    Military authorities blamed Islamic separatist insurgents for the attack.

     

    A military spokesman told AP news agency: "We do believe that the insurgents are responsible for the attacks.

     

    "Their intention is to spread fear in the region."

     

    Parts of Songkhla province are under martial law as the Thailand government attempts to quash an Islamic insurgency that has killed more than 1,400 people since 2004.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.