Bangkok bomb total grows to 9


Nine bombs exploded across Bangkok on New Year's Eve and early Monday, killing two people, wounding 34 - at least six of them foreigners - and driving home thousands of revelers.

No one claimed responsibility. The bombings capped a year of unrest in Thailand, including a military coup three months ago and an increasingly violent Muslim insurgency in the south.

National deputy police chief Gen. Ajirawit Suphanaphesat said Muslim separatist insurgents were probably not behind the attacks.

The foreigners known hurt were two Serbians, two Britons, a Hungarian and a US citizen, said Suchila La-oan, a staff member of the Police General Hospital, where they were sent.

Doctors were trying to save the Hungarian woman's badly injured leg, said hospital spokeswoman Warin Detkung, denying earlier news reports it was blown off.

The bombings triggered a major security lockdown in the Thai capital, but no chaos. An investigation has been launched.

The three bombs that exploded just after midnight Monday were in a phone booth, a hotel, and near a canal bridge in a downtown area thick with heavily touristed hotels and shopping malls.

They went off near the planned venue for Bangkok's main New Year countdown party, canceled hours earlier after the six initial blasts throughout the city.

"Due to several bomb explosions in Bangkok and for the sake of peace and security, I would ask all of you to return to your homes now," Bangkok Mayor Apirak Kosayothin had told some 5,000 revelers at the downtown Central World Plaza shopping mall. The crowd dispersed quickly but calmly.

Hotels stepped up security, searching cars and canceling expensive New Year's Eve dinners.

"I heard a loud explosion and I thought it was fireworks. I ran there and saw a bleeding woman at the bus stop," said Somrak Manphothong, a receptionist at the Saxophone bar along a busy traffic circle near the Victory Monument, the scene of one bombing.

"Another guy was lying on the floor, covered with blood, and his wife was shaking his body," Somrak said.

At another site near a vegetable market in the Klong Toey slum, a pool of blood and egg yolks covered the roadside beside an overturned motorcycle.

The main public celebration was also called off in Thailand's northern hub city of Chiang Mai, though no incidents were reported there.

It appears the bombers were real party poopers. That may have been their objectives since the kill total is relatively small for this many bombs in public places.

Update: Conterterrorism Blog has more details on the bombings. Apparently at least two bombs were found and defused. The bombers apparently avoided the area where the expats hang out.


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