Gun attack kills five in Thailand’s south
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Gun attack kills five in Thailand’s south

Suspected Islamic insurgents killed five people and seriously wounded another three, including two young children, in a roadside gun attack in the Thai south, police said Wednesday.

Five militants, dressed like police, stopped their pick-up truck early on Tuesday evening by a fruit stall in Pattani province and opened fire at sellers and customers.

Four men and one 35-year-old woman were shot and later died at a nearby hospital while three people — a girl aged 10, a seven-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man — were left in a critical condition, police said.

Afterwards the attackers set fire to an empty car.

Both Buddhists and Muslims were targeted in the attack, the latest in more than six years of violence since a separatist insurgency erupted in the Muslim-majority southern provinces in January 2004.

More than 4,300 people of both religions have since been killed in the region, once an autonomous Malay sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed it a century ago, provoking decades of tension.