PATTANI, Thailand — Suspected insurgents in Thailand detonated a car bomb Tuesday outside a busy shopping centre in the south of the country, wounding more than 50 people in a huge blast that ripped the building apart and sent people running for their lives.
The attackers initially set off firecrackers as a distraction before triggering explosives planted in a pick-up truck at the mall’s entrance in the city of Pattani, said Pramote Prom-in, a military spokesman.
The blast occurred at one of Thailand’s Big C shopping centres, a major grocery and retail chain. Footage of the scene aired on Thai television stations showed a huge black plume of smoke rising skyward from the blackened building as rescue workers doused the flames and soldiers stood by.
Pattani Hospital posted on its board of emergency room patients that 52 people were injured from the incident.
No deaths have been reported.
Muslim separatists have waged a bloody insurgency for years in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, the only ones with Muslim majorities in the predominantly Buddhist country. More than 6,500 people have been killed since 2004.