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Death toll in Bangkok blasts revised to 22; 123 injured

By Elizabeth Shim and Danielle Haynes

BANGKOK, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Authorities in Thailand said the cause of an explosion at a busy intersection in Bangkok was a bomb, and local reports say at least 22 people are dead and about 123 are injured.

The attack occurred near the Erawan Shrine, a sacred site dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma and located in front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan, a five-star luxury hotel in the heart of Bangkok's Chidlom district. Four of the blast victims are believed to be foreigners, Sky News reported.

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Twelve people died at the scene and the others died later at local hospitals, officials told CNN.

Lucinda-Jane Chastain, who was having cocktails at the hotel, said the entire building shook, and guests rushed to the windows to see debris in the street.

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"All we can see is a horrible mess on the road. This is at the very heart of Bangkok," Chastain said.

A second bomb inside the shrine was discovered and defused and reports said a third bomb on a train was neutralized.

The latest reports said the bomb that exploded was planted under a bench.

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Chaos erupted in the aftermath of the explosion and the BBC reported body parts were scattered everywhere. People who visit the shrine to offer prayers were directly hit by blasts, and charred motorcycles and other vehicles had crowded the intersection.

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Thousands of people visit the shrine every day, The Guardian reported.

Richard Barrow, a foreign travel blogger based in Bangkok, tweeted at 7 p.m. local time a loud explosion was heard and emergency vehicles had been dispatched within 15 minutes.

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Florian Witulski, a German video journalist based in Bangkok, said the police had found several more bombs in a "nearby taxi."

Witulski tweeted photos of the site showing firefighters and soldiers in the area who were dispatched not long after the explosions hit the key area of the city.

The military seized government power in Thailand more than a year ago in a bloodless coup. Authorities said they were investigating who coordinated the attack.

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