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Bomb blast strikes Bangkok hospital

At least 21 wounded in explosion that targeted clinic used by retired military officers

Published: May 23, 2017 05:38 AM GMT
Bomb blast strikes Bangkok hospital

Members of a Thai police forensics unit leave the front entrance of Phramongkutklao Hospital, which was struck by a small bomb, in Bangkok on May 22. (Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

A bomb blast struck a Thai army hospital on May 22, wounding 21 people — one person seriously.

The blast came on the third anniversary of the Thai army seizing power in the politically unstable kingdom. 

It was not immediately clear who was responsible, Thailand has a long history of bomb attacks on symbolic dates carried out by militant political factions or separatists linked to an insurgency in the Muslim-majority south, Channel News Asia reported.

The blast struck near the VIP section of Phramongkutklao Hospital as patients and their families waited for prescriptions, shattering glass and sending smoke into the corridors. 

Hospital director Saroj Keokajee, said the "low intensity bomb" injured 21 people, among them retired military officers.

"Eight people were admitted to hospital to observe their condition... Among them is one woman who needed surgery because of shrapnel buried in her jaw," he said.

Serving and retired members of the armed forces often use the clinic.

Saroj said no senior military officers were near the blast, which hit the 'Wongsuwan Room' — the Thai military's number two is called Prawit Wongsuwan.

A battery and wires were found at the scene, Deputy National Police Chief General Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul told reporters.

Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, condemned the attack, calling the targeting of a hospital an "unjustifiable act of lawlessness."

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"The bombing of a hospital is an outrageous rights abuse that shows total disregard for human life," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said.

"Thai authorities should ensure those responsible for this heinous crime are apprehended and brought to trial," he said.

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