Southern Thailand hotel bombing spurs security warnings
Thai police target Muslim separatists in the recent spike in the long-simmmering violent conflict.
(Page 2 of 2)
An editorial in the Nation says that two bombs concealed inside a parked car blasted an outdoor terrace at the hotel, the CS Pattani, but a third bomb nearby didn't explode. The hotel was seen as a haven that had stayed clear of the conflict, and its owner was elected as senator in 2006 for the mostly Muslim province. The target appeared to be a blow to government officials, who have tried in past years to broker peace talks with exiled militant leaders.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Writing on Counterterrorism blog, Zachary Abuza, an analyst based in the United States, said the attack was not the first time that militants had used car bombs in the south, but was the first in over a year. Military counterinsurgent operations successfully stemmed a surge in violence in 2007 but killings remain above the four-year average.
Earlier Saturday, police found a burnt-out car parked near a school in nearby Yala, Reuters reported. The driver had died in the blast from two powerful bombs packed inside the car, and police speculated that the bombs had exploded prematurely before they could be used in a suspected terrorist attack.
Thai police believe that three teams of militants carried out Saturday's hotel bombing, says the Bangkok Post. Surveillance cameras at the hotel showed their movements on the night of the blast, and police have also identified the owner of the explosives-packed car. The provincial governor said the explosion had damaged the hotel, 24 nearby shop-houses, and more than seven cars.
In an editorial, the newspaper said Thai security forces must take the blame for the lapse of security at the hotel and, more broadly, for failing to calm the conflict. It also faulted Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej for not commenting on the bombing during his weekly Sunday radio address.
Bangkok Pundit, an unidentified blogger, says the hotel bombing is a symbolic blow to a safe haven that had been used as a venue by a government reconciliation committee. He says security forces need to search more vehicles but warns of limited resources for such scrutiny. He also asks raises the issue of funding for the insurgency.