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Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 20:02 UK

Ten killed in Thai mosque attack

An injured man outside a hospital in the Cho-i-Rong distrist of Narathiwat, Thailand
Police say the gunmen opened fire on worshippers at a mosque

Suspected militants carrying assault rifles have killed at least 10 people and wounded 12 more in a mosque in southern Thailand, police say.

Gunmen opened fire on worshippers during evening prayers in the mosque in troubled Narathiwat province. The local imam was among the dead, reports said.

Three other attacks in Narathiwat this week have left three people dead.

More than 3,700 people have died during a five-year insurgency in southern Thailand's mainly Muslim provinces.

"They opened fire indiscriminately at about 50 worshippers inside the mosque," a police official said to AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said up to five gunmen entered the mosque in Cho-ai-rong district through the back door, although an army spokesman said there were two attackers who entered from separate entrances.

Flare-up

The attack comes amid a flare-up of violence in the troubled province in the last week.

Map

Earlier in the day, suspected militants shot dead a rubber tapper in Rangae district and several soldiers were injured in a bomb blast in the neighbouring Rueso district, Reuters news agency reported.

Last week two people were killed in another attack by suspected militants in the province.

Previous attacks in the region, which borders Malaysia, have been blamed on Muslim insurgents.

But they tend to target people perceived to be collaborating with the Bangkok government, or to try to force Buddhist residents from the area and establish an Islamic state.

Thailand annexed the three southern provinces - Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani - in 1902, but the vast majority of people there are Muslim and speak a Malay dialect, in contrast to the Buddhist Thai speakers in the rest of the country.



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