Thai police look for suspects after bombs hit tourist sites

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Bangkok, August 13
There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks on Thursday and Friday, which followed a successful referendum last weekend on a new constitution that critics say will bolster the military’s power for years to come.
The violence appeared aimed at dealing a blow to the country’s tourism industry, which brings in crucial income to the government. One small bomb exploded on a beach in Patong on the island of Phuket and four others rattled the seaside resort city of Hua Hin, prompting businesses to shut their doors, streets to empty and anxious tourists to huddle inside their hotels.
Eleven foreigners were wounded in the blasts, including nationals of Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
“We hope we may have some suspects today or tomorrow,” Police Gen. Pongsapat Pongcharoen, a deputy national police chief, told reporters on Saturday. He did not elaborate, but said police were gathering evidence and that international militant groups were not believed to be behind the attacks.
Speaking late Friday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the attacks “struck at the hearts of all Thai people.”
Royal Thai Police Col. Krisana Patanacharoen also said on Friday that it was “too early to conclude” who was behind the attacks.
But he said the bombings followed “a similar pattern used in the southern parts of the country” a reference to a low-level insurgency in the country’s largely Islamic south that has ground on for more than a decade and killed more than 5,000 people.

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