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Pattani, Thailand -
Seven people were killed and 22 injured by a series of bombs across Thailand's restive southernmost provinces, an official said on Wednesday.
Thirty-one bombs went off in the provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla and several arson attacks were carried out late Tuesday and early on Wednesday, said Lieutenant General Paradorn Pattanathabutra, secretary-general of the National Security Council.
He said that some of the bombs were planted next to ATM machines to damage the local economy, while others were planted at roadsides to target military patrols.
Five soldiers and two civilians were killed in the blasts. Another 10 soldiers and 12 civilians were wounded, Paradorn said.
Muslim rebels fighting for independence from Buddhist-majority Thailand have been responsible for previous bomb attacks.
A Thai intelligence source who did not wish to be named said the recent attacks were revenge for the recent killing of a key militant by authorities.
Ethnic Malay-Muslim separatists have been waging an insurgency against Bangkok for decades, but it has escalated since 2004. More than 5 000 people have been killed in the unrest since then.
Paradorn said increased attacks were expected during October, when several of the groups celebrate their anniversaries.
The government has held recent peace talks with one of the groups, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional. Paradorn said the latest attacks were also aimed at discrediting the negotiations. - Sapa-dpa