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14 killed in serial blasts in Thailand

Bangkok: At least 14 people were killed and nearly 500 others wounded in a series of blasts in Thailand`s insurgency-hit southern city of Yala, in the most deadly coordinated attacks in years in the country.

Nine people were killed and 100 others wounded in triple blasts in southern city of Yala on Saturday, the Bangkok Post reported today.

In another explosion that caused a fire at Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel and shopping mall in Songkhla`s Hat Yai district five people were killed and more than 350 injured on Saturday.

The authorities confirmed that the bombs were made by insurgents but could not confirm if the incident in Hat Yai was linked to terrorism, the paper said. But Hat Yai mayor Prai Pattano, who had earlier ruled out a terror attack, changed his mind after inspecting the scene, saying he believed it was terrorism, it said.

The business area of Yala`s Muang district was rocked by two bombs just before noon yesterday. The explosives, weighing 60-70kg, were stored in two 15kg gas cylinders and put in an Isuzu pickup truck.

The parts of damaged gas cylinders and electronic circuits and power cables were recovered from the blast site. As authorities rushed to the scene, another bomb exploded in front of a convenience store about 20m away. The bomb was planted in a Toyota pickup truck.

Shophouses, parked cars and motorcycles near the blast sites caught fire. The two pickup trucks used in the attacks and the suspects were captured on surveillance cameras.

In less than one hour, a major fire engulfed Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel, which houses a hotel and shopping complex, following an explosion from the basement car park. Four men and one woman were found dead. Three of the bodies were recovered from the basement.

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