BANGKOK, Thailand – Suspected Islamic rebels detonated two bombs and opened fire on authorities riding in an armored railway car early Sunday in southern Thailand (search), wounding at least 19 people, police said.
The armored car was making a routine inspection of track near the Ra-ngae district station in Narathiwat (search) province when the bombs exploded, tearing apart the track and overturning the car, police Lt. Nathiwat Deekaew said.
Insurgents hiding nearby then ambushed the passengers, leaving at least 11 police officers and eight railway officials wounded, he said, adding it was not known how many passengers were on the train. A gunfight ensued and was continuing early Sunday.
Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani are the only Muslim-dominated provinces in this largely Buddhist (search) country. More than 700 people have been killed in the area since January 2004. The government blames separatist rebels for the violence.