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Insurgents suspected in fourth day of south Thailand attacks

HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) — Violence presumed to have been carried out by Muslim separatists has hit southern Thailand for the fourth day in a row, with three paramilitary soldiers wounded and a female civilian shot dead Saturday.

The soldiers in Narathiwat province were hurt in an ambush of their pickup truck, while the woman was killed in Pattani province.

On Friday night, four people in Narathiwat were wounded by one of several bombs suspected of being planted by the Muslim insurgents, security officials said, and there was a shootout between security forces and suspected insurgents who attacked a defense outpost at a small rural village.

The bombs mostly targeted utility poles and caused a blackout in one village.

Nearby Songkhla province on Wednesday and Thursday nights experienced similar small bombing attempts, including two that damaged well-known statues at a popular beach but caused no casualties.

No arrests have been reported for any of the attacks.

Drive-by shootings, roadside ambushes and bombings of utility poles have been common tactics used by Muslim separatists who since 2004 have been engaged in an insurgency that has wracked Thailand’s deep south and left about 7,000 people dead.

The insurgency has mostly affected the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, which have Muslim majorities in predominantly Buddhist Thailand. Songkhla, with a substantial Muslim population, has generally been spared the violence, though its biggest city, Hat Yai, has suffered several bombings.

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