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Friday, August 12, 2016, 22:46

Thailand's toll: 4 dead, 11 bombs, 5 provinces, 18 hours

By Agencies

Thailand's toll: 4 dead, 11 bombs, 5 provinces, 18 hours

BANGKOK — A series of bomb blasts rocked southern provinces, many famous among tourists, on Thai Queen Sirikit's 84th birthday, or the Mother's Day after two bombs exploded in the resort town of Hua Hin last night.

At least 4 people were killed and dozens wounded, including 11 foreigners. Police have not immediately identified the attackers or their motive.

Thai police said they believe that the blasts were acts of local sabotage and were not linked to any international militant group.

The attacks came after a successful referendum held last weekend on a new constitution that critics say will bolster the military's power for years to come.

The national police chief said that Thai authorities had intelligence about imminent attacks ahead of a series of bombings, but did not have precise information on when and where the attacks would come.

At about 8:00 am Friday local time, two bomb exploded in the southern Surat Thani province, which killed one person and injured at least 3 people.

At about 8:41 am local time, two bomb exploded near the Patong beach of Phuket province, which injured a motorcycle taxi driver.

At about 9 am local time, two bomb went off again in Hua Hin, a tourist hotspot, of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, injuring five.

At about 9:30 am local time, several bomb exploded in Phang Nga province, which caused no injuries.

Bomb blasts hit Hua Hin last night and killed one person and wounded seven foreigners and 13 Thais, while bombs also hit Trang province on Thursday, injuring five.

Besides the bomb blasts, major fires were also reported in markets of several southern provinces, such as Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi and Trang.

A lot of the places hit by blasts and fires, such as Hua Hin, Krabi, Phang Nga, are tourist hotspots famous around the world.

Thailand's toll: 4 dead, 11 bombs, 5 provinces, 18 hours
Investigators work at the scene of an explosion in the resort town of Hua Hin, 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Bangkok, Thailand, Aug 12, 2016. The blast followed a series of two explosions in Hua Hin Thursday evening that left one person dead and a number injured. (AP Photo / Jerry Harmer)

Thailand's economy has sagged since the military seized power in a 2014 coup. But tourism has remained one of the few bright spots, with visitors rising to 30 million in 2015 and more than 14 million having visited by May 2016, according to the latest official figures.

Foreign governments, including the United States, issued warnings Friday urging travelers to use caution and avoid affected areas.

Police said four of the injured tourists were from Germany, two from Italy and one from Austria. The Netherlands said four of its citizens were also wounded.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said some Thais "without hearts" are making trouble, adding that the government will do its utmost to secure the kingdom, Thai media Thairath reported.

Prayut also asked Thai people not to be scared by the series of bomb blasts.

Police said they were investigating all leads and had ruled out links to international militant groups.

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