Suspected Muslim insurgents launched a series of coordinated bombing attacks in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province in the early hours of Saturday, police said.
According to Pol Lt Col Jarukit Sridech, acting chief of the Tak Bai police station, who was alerted at 1.30am, an improvised explosive device (IED) built inside a fire extinguisher cylinder was exploded outside a gold shop in tambon Chehe, damaging the front half of the shop.
About 50 yards away from the gold shop, he said, a group of unknown gunmen started fire on a security checkpoint. Seven of the officers on duty there retaliated, starting a gunfight that lasted for over 30 minutes. As reinforcements arrived, the shooters hid in the adjacent woods.
Later, authorities learned that a power pole located roughly 200 metres from the checkpoint had been downed by a roadside bombing. Another explosive device was located under a utility pole on the other side of the road.
On Saturday morning, locals discovered two further IEDs along a small road in tambon Chehe and reported them to the police, who subsequently sealed off the area.
After some time, reports came in of another roadside bombing in tambon Khosit, again in Tak Bai. Ten power poles fell because of the blast, temporarily stopping traffic.
Pol Col Direk Chomyong, acting chief of the Muno police station in the Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat, reported two incidents on Saturday morning: a homemade bomb was detonated in a village, damaging a power pole, and a bombing device hidden in a fire extinguisher was discovered beneath another power pole in the same village.
He added that the inquiry into the incident was ongoing.
On the evening before the 19th anniversary of the Tak Bai massacre, which took place on October 25, 2004, 85 demonstrators were captured and heaped on top of each other in two military trucks while they were being transferred to a military camp in Pattani province, where they were executed.
Also on Saturday, around 300 Muslims and Palestinians in Thailand rallied outside the Israeli embassy in Bangkok to demand that Israel end its “genocide” against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Rallying outside the Ocean Tower II building on Sukhumvit Soi 21 in the Watthana district at approximately 9.30am, the marchers included numerous Muslims from five southern border provinces and Palestinians living in Thailand.
A contingent of law enforcement personnel was on hand to keep order during the event. The presence of traffic officers helped keep things moving smoothly.
The protest leaders alternately criticised the United States for backing Israel’s battle against Hamas members and Israel for the ongoing carnage in the Gaza Strip.
The crowd chanted slogans in support of Hamas fighters against Israeli troops. Anti-Israel protesters burned an Israeli flag they had burned after stepping on it in the street.
According to Islamic leader Chaiyid Sulaiman Huzainee, Israel has been using weaponry supplied by its supporters to commit genocide against the Palestinians for the past seven decades. He blasted the United States for siding with Israel.
He remarked, “We cannot carry weapons while in Thailand, but we will do what we can.” We Thais would never intentionally harm our country. Israel’s tyranny will not dissuade us.
“The worst sin is capitulation in the face of injustice. Without a resolution to the Palestinian issue, the entire globe is at risk. When it comes to Jewish rights, the UN always comes through. The Hamas brothers fought back.
He was certain that the Thai hostages will be safe and released as quickly as possible from the hands of Hamas fighters.
He said the media was to responsible for portraying Hamas soldiers as terrorists. Around midday, the protesters dispersed.
Following their October 7 surprise strike on Israel, Hamas seized at least 200 hostages, among them 19 Thai labourers. Since fighting broke out, thirty Thais have lost their lives.