Two dead as bomb blasts rock Bangkok

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The Independent Online

A series of New Year's Eve bomb blasts rocked the Thai capital Bangkok today, killing at least two people and injuring 12, police said. The culprits and motive were unknown.

The bombings in several parts of city capped a year of unrest in Thailand, including a military coup three months ago.

Police spokesman General Ajirawit Suphanaphesat said on the iTV television network today that authorities were inspecting six more locations where there were suspicious packages.

Police Lt Gen Chongrak Juranond, said one person died at Chulalongkorn hospital, and another police officer, Lt Col Teerawit Butsaban, said a second person succumbed to injuries at another hospital.

The iTV report said at least a dozen other people were injured.

There was no immediate word on the attackers' identities or possible motive.

Bombings and shootings occur almost daily in Thailand's three southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, where an Islamic insurgency that flared in January 2004 has killed more than 1,900 people.

Muslims make up the majority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Thailand's deep south, where they have long complained of discrimination.

The insurgents are not known to have launched any attacks in Bangkok.

Thailand has also been immersed in political turmoil.

In September, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a bloodless coup by General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin. The military installed Surayud Chulanont as the interim prime minister until elections in October 2007.