Explosions Shake Myanmar; 11 Killed

Explosions blamed on ethnic rebels tore through two crowded supermarkets and a convention center in quick succession in Myanmar's capital on Saturday, killing at least 11 people and wounding more than 160, state television reported.

The blasts occurred over a 10-minute period starting in the afternoon at the convention center in western Yangon (search), where a Thai trade fair was being held, then at two City Mart (search) supermarkets in northern sections of the city.

State television blamed several ethnic rebel groups, including the Karen National Union (search) and the Shan State Army (search), for the attacks, calling the perpetrators "terrorists" who were acting "with the objective of disrupting stability and tranquility."

Authorities shut down markets across the capital because of security concerns after the explosions.

At Yangon General Hospital, ambulances carrying bloodied victims of the blasts arrived while anxious relatives waited for news of their kin. More than 20 wounded people, including some with severe burns, head wounds or lying unconscious and covered with blood, could be seen in one of the hospital's wards.

The explosions came less than two weeks after a bombing at a bustling market in the northern city of Mandalay that killed two women and wounded 15 other people. The junta also blamed that attack on unidentified rebels.

State media reported several rebel attacks last month, including an ambush by ethnic Karen rebels (search) on a convoy of trucks and buses in southern Myanmar that left eight people dead and the bombing of a northeastern utility tower by ethnic Karenni rebels that disrupted power in the area.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military for more than four decades. The current regime took power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy uprising. The junta keeps tight control over the population and anti-government violence is rare, often bringing quick and severe punishment.