HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) Three bomb squad officers were killed on Monday while inspecting a suspicious item beside a road in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south, police said.

Suspected insurgents detonated an improvised bomb in a box when the squad arrived to check out a location where tires had been burned in Bacho district in Narathiwat province, police Col. Pakdee Preechachon said on Monday.

A common militant tactic is to initiate a false attack then strike the security officers who respond to it.

A second bomb was defused at the scene.


More than 5,000 people have been killed since an Islamic insurgency erupted in 2004 in Thailand's three southernmost provinces, which are predominantly Muslim while the rest of the country is Buddhist dominated.

The regular attacks in the south, with security officers as one of the main targets, are seen as a hindrance to the Thai government's attempt to revive peace talks with the Muslim militants after both sides signed a breakthrough deal in February to hold discussions to ease nearly a decade of violence.

New talks have repeatedly been postponed since insurgents in August accused the government of failing to respond to their demands.