Thailand tourist towns hit by coordinated attacks | News | DW | 12.08.2016

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Thailand tourist towns hit by coordinated attacks

A series of coordinated blasts has been carried in in several of Thailand's popular resorts, leaving four dead and dozens wounded. Local authorities said the attacks were "local sabotage" and not of a "terrorist" nature.

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Thailand blasts hit tourist towns

Thai authorities reported on Friday that a series of coordinated explosions had been detonated in at least four cities over the past 24 hours, including the popular seaside resort of Hua Hin and the tourist beach town of Patong on Phuket Island. Several of the attacks were twin blasts.

National police deputy spokesman Piyapan Pingmuang confirmed that four people were killed in the blasts. Foreigners are believed to be among the dead. Dozens of others were injured, including three Germans.

It was not immediately clear who was behind for the attacks, although authorities ruled out international terrorists. Twin blasts such as those seen on Thursday and Friday are common in the three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces of Thailand, where a bloody insurgency has killed more than 6,500 people since 2004.

Thai authorities dismissed speculation, however, that Muslim rebels were responsible for the most recent blasts.

"It is just local sabotage that is restricted to limited areas and provinces," Pingmuang told reporters in Bangkok.

Sensitive timing

The bombings on Thursday and Friday came at a sensitive time in Thailand, with this weekend marking Queen Sirikit's 84th birthday.

A contentious referendum put forward by the military junta was also approved last week, paving the way for a new constitution and elections next year.

Opponents of the military-drafted constitution argue that it is laced with undemocratic principles and was designed to keep the military in power for five more years.

The coordinated explosions were also carried out just days before the one-year anniversary of the last major attack on tourists in Thailand. A bomb in the Thai capital ripped through a Hindi shrine on August 17, last year, killed 20 people most of whom were foreigners.

Thai authorities accused two Uighur men from western China of the bombing, the deadliest attack of its kind in Thailand in recent years. The two accused have denied involvement in the attack and their trial is set to begin later this month.

ksb/rs (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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