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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Southern Thailand rocked by more than 100 coordinated attacks

On the night of August 1, southern Thailand was rocked by more than 100 incidents of terrorism, primarily consisting of bombing and arson attacks (Bangkok Post, August 4).

The sheer size of the coordinated operation surprised authorities. For instance, according to an unidentified source quoted in the August 3 edition of the Bangkok Post, each of the August 1 incidents were executed by five militants, implying that between 700 and 1,000 militants or sympathizers participated in the campaign. Despite the size of the operation, there were very few casualties; the attacks consisted of "petrol bottle bombs, burning of tires and rags, nail booby traps and arson of telephone booths, bus stops, telephone signal relay towers, pig farms and local homes" (Bangkok Post, August 3). In response to the attacks, on August 3 the government deployed an additional 30 companies of rangers to reinforce the region (Bangkok Post, August 4). The three southernmost provinces of Thailand—Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat—are already patrolled by 20,000 troops (Bangkok Post, August 4). The August 1 bombings come less than two months after the June 15 bombing campaign in southern Thailand, where, in the course of four days, approximately 74 bombs were detonated, including 50 on the first day (Terrorism Focus, June 27). Thailand has faced an Islamist insurgency in the south for more than two years which has left more than 1,300 people dead.
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