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Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 05:15 GMT
Bangkok blasts leave three dead
Injured western tourist in Bangkok.
Bangkok: Usually thought among safest Asian cities for foreigners
A series of bomb or grenade explosions in the Thai capital has killed three people and injured about 30 others, including at least eight foreigners.

A first spate of six attacks occurred at sites across Bangkok as streets were filling up late afternoon local time ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations.

Just before midnight, at least two further blasts rocked the city centre.

The Thai authorities had cancelled all public celebrations for New Year's Eve after the first devices went off.

Two people died on Sunday, and a third man died of his injuries on Monday in hospital. All three victims were Thai.

Police do not believe foreign groups or militants from the Muslim south are to blame, says the BBC's Jonathan Head.

There was a big bang and people started screaming and running
Chalermsak Sanbee
Witness

Our Bangkok correspondent says many Thais suspect the attacks were the work of opponents of the current military government, which forced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from office in September.

The latest explosions occurred near the Central World Plaza, a shopping mall close to where the biggest New Year's event was to have been held.

The area had already been cleared. However the blasts caught several foreign tourists.

Two British men, three Hungarians, two Serbs and an American are receiving hospital treatment but none were thought to be in a serious condition, officials quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Of the earlier attacks, the largest was at about 1730 (1030 GMT) near a bus station next to one of Bangkok's busiest intersections, Victory Monument.

Police said this caused the biggest number of casualties, injuring at least 13 people and killing one.

People on the streets of Bangkok react to the New Year's Eve bombings.

Reports suggest the device was planted beneath a seat at a bus stop or in a rubbish bin.

One witness who was standing nearby, 17-year-old Chalermsak Sanbee told Reuters news agency:

"There was a big bang and people started screaming and running. I saw people with blood all over their legs and faces."

According to a police spokesman, the other blasts occurred:

  • At 1720 on Sukhumvit Road in the south-east, causing no casualties
  • Simultaneous blasts at 1800: at a crossroads in the north injuring two people, and in Kae Lak district injuring no-one
  • At 1830 close to a Chinese temple in the Klong Toey district, killing one person and injuring six
  • A bomb went off in a rubbish bin near the Seacon Square shopping area, injuring no-one

National police chief General Ajirawit Suphanaphesat said the authorities inspected other locations where suspicious packages were found.

Map of Bangkok




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes from the aftermath of the bombs



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Bangkok blasts
31 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Britons injured in Bangkok blasts
31 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Thailand
02 Oct 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Thailand
03 Oct 06 |  Country profiles



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