A wave of bombings struck some of Thailand’s popular beach and resort towns on Thursday and Friday, killing at least four and wounding dozens, including 11 foreigners, according to the Associated Press.
Using firebombs and homemade explosives, attackers set off multiple blasts in Hua Hin and on the island of Phuket, as well as three other locations in the south, the BBC reported.
One incident overnight in Hua Hin, bombs were hidden in potted plants on a street with bars and restaurants, and detonated by remote control. AP reported that the police had recovered a cellphone believed to have been used in the two attacks, separated by a half an hour.
“I saw light, white light, big explosion and immediately it hurts here in my shoulder, like big fire. And I go down on the floor in blood. Everyone was screaming, the glass broken, table broken, confusion,” Andrea Tazzioli, an Italian on vacation from military work in Afghanistan, told the AP from a hospital bed.
The second blast killed a Thai woman and injured about 20 people. Then two more bombs exploded in the same town Friday morning, killing one and hurting four others.
While the identity of the attackers is not yet known, the locations of the bombings suggest the goal was to hurt tourism in the country. And the timing coincides with Queen Sirikit’s 84th birthday Friday, a holiday. The attacks also come days after a national referendum, ushering in a new constitution, the “nation’s 20th in less than nine decades,” reported Time magazine. Critics say the move helps ensure the military-government’s grip on power for years to come.
The AP said that police had ruled out links to international militant groups. NPR quoted reporter Michael Sullivan via Newscast that the government is “insisting that the attacks are not the work of ‘terrorists,’ in an attempt to limit damage to the country’s lucrative tourism industry.”
The United States and other foreign governments issued travel warnings. Tourists injured in the attacks came from Germany, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands.
US citizens in Thailand: bombing incidents in Hua Hin, Phang Nga, Trang, Surat Thani, & Phuket. Avoid affected areas https://t.co/SbUx6AXLbk
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) August 12, 2016