08/12/2016, 10.27
THAILAND
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Bombs in southern Thailand: four dead and dozens wounded

The bombs exploded in five different tourist sites, causing panic among the population. Thais are celebrating the Queen's birthday. The attacks have not been claimed and the police have ruled out international terrorism.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A series of explosions over the last 24 hours have targeted some cities in southern Thailand leaving four dead and dozens injured. Four bombs exploded overnight night yesterday in Hua Hin, the tourist center 180 kilometers south of Bangkok, killing two people and injuring at least 22 (including two Italians).

In the early hours of today other bombs exploded in four cities: two in front of a police station in Surat Thani (one death and several injuries); two in Patong, on Phuket Island; one in Trang (one death); one in Phang Nga beach. All the bombs would be detonated using mobile phones.

The attacks took place in the days when the Thais are celebrating the 84th birthday of Queen Sirikit and close to the first anniversary of the August 19, 2015 bombing that killed 20 people at the Erawan temple in Bangkok. In addition, the country has just approved by referendum a new constitution proposed by the ruling military junta.

Even the choice of hitting Hua Hin could be read in anti-monarchy key, as it is the favorite residence of the king outside Bangkok.

So far the attacks have not been claimed by anyone, even if the police have ruled out the trail of international terrorism. Prime Minister Payut Chan-o-cha said: "The bombs are an attempt to create chaos and confusion". "Why - he questioned in a press conference with journalists – did the bombs strike at a time when our country is progressing towards stability, a better economy and tourism? And who did it? We have to find out”.

In similar incidents in the past, suspicions usually fell on supporters of former premier in exile Thaksin Shinawatra. The inhabitants of the affected regions, however, have voted with large majorities in favor of the new Constitution, making it easier to point to Muslim secessionist rebels who have never accepted rule from Bangkok, waging a guerrilla war since 2004 that has caused 6500 deaths.

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