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UPDATED: 14:40, June 25, 2004
Southern Thailand rocked by worst violence
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Thailand's Muslim-dominant south on early Wednesday morning was rocked by worst coordinated violence leaving more than 78 dead.

Unidentified attackers on Wednesday morning attacked more than 10 spots of police station and military checkpoints in the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Songkra, all lying some 1,000 kilometers south of Bangkok and close to Malaysia to the south.

The attackers, transported by motorcycles or pickup trucks, were mostly young men armed with guns or even knives.

After brief exchange of fire with the authority security troops,at least 50 attackers have been killed, according to local TV station Channel report.

The military and police also reported three deaths and seven injuries in the attack.

The authorities are now carrying on further investigation and calculation of casualties.

The latest violence was believed to be the worst in past monthswith its high casualties.

Since the early morning of Wednesday, most local TV stations have kept running pictures of attackers' corpses lying on roadsidewith blood draining into small pools or security troops shuttling in armored cars with weapons in hands.

Channel 11 also quoted police sources saying that the attackerswere all Thais and the authorities were collecting their fingerprint to identify them.

Thailand's deep south has fallen into spiraling violence since January 4, when armed men simultaneously torched down 20 schools, looted more than 300 weapons and killed four soldiers.

Since then, the region was caught in constant bombs or shootings and more than 20 buildings were set on fire on last Thursday night.

Source: Xinhua

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