Mon, Oct 23, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Phone bomb rips through group of monks in Thailand

AP , BANGKOK

A bomb in Muslim-dominated southern Thailand ripped through a column of Buddhist monks as they were begging for alms yesterday, killing a Marine and injuring a dozen other people, police said.

The attack came a day after Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said he would use Indonesia's peace process with separatist rebels in Aceh Province as an example in trying to solve the Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand. More than 1,700 people have died in the south since early 2004.

Police Lieutenant Narong Buakong said a mobile telephone-triggered bomb went off early yesterday outside an electronics shop in the city of Narathiwat as the monks were passing by to collect food offerings.

The bomb killed one Marine and injured four other Marines who were escorting the monks, five of whom were injured, he said. Three civilians standing nearby were also wounded.

Buddhist monks are among targets of the Islamic insurgents, who are seeking to carve out a separate homeland in the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat that border Malaysia.

Since several monks were beheaded in early 2004, soldiers have provided escorts for them during their daily alms-receiving walks.

The attack was the latest in a particularly bloody week, which included several shootings and a major bomb attack on Friday at a tea shop in Songkhla that killed four people and wounded 10.

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