Suspected Muslim militants, attack military outposts in Thailand

Muslim militants set off four more explosives Thursday in continued bombings, shootings and arsons across southern Thailand that killed at least one person and injured 28 in less than 48 hours, police said.

A bomb triggered by a mobile telephone signal injured eight people in a busy downtown area of Narathiwat on Thursday, while other explosions in nearby districts wounded two police officers and two teachers, police Maj. Kamol Photiyok said.

The bombings followed a string of apparently coordinated attacks Wednesday in which suspected militants set off six bombs, attacked military outposts and burned village homes, officials said. At least one person was killed and 16 wounded.

Three bombs went off almost simultaneously in Sungai Kolok, a town popular with tourists from nearby Malaysia because of its notorious night life, while in nearby Pattani, three other explosives rocked the provincial capital, two just meters (yards) from the regional army headquarters, according to police officers.

Beginning their campaign in early 2004, Muslim separatists have launched increasingly brazen and better coordinated strikes in the country's three southernmost provinces which border Malaysia. More than 950 people, both Buddhists and Muslims, have died in the escalating violence.

Police Col. Surasak Romaranon said the bombs in Sungai Kolok went off at about 9 p.m. behind the Genting Hotel, near a karaoke bar and in front of the Plaza Hotel, injuring 15 people, at least one of them a Malaysian man.

Almost simultaneous attacks were also launched in five districts of Narathiwat province, in which Sungai Kolok is located, with the insurgents striking at military outposts and burning houses and telephone booths, army spokesman Col. Somkuan Saengphataraneth said.

In Pattani, about 10 assailants sprayed a police checkpoint with gunfire, killing a police sergeant and injuring his wife before two bombs were set off near the army headquarters in the provincial capital, said Police Maj. Paithoon Pattanasophon. A total of three bombs rocked the town but no injuries were reported.

Security forces arrested a number of suspects after the attacks but declined to give numbers, reports the AP.

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