17 gunmen killed in Thai military base attack: army

Scores of heavily armed gunmen stormed a military base in unrest-plagued southern Thailand, an army spokesman said Wednesday, in a major assault that left at least 17 militants dead.

"Some 100 fully armed militants stormed the base, where there were 60 marines," Colonel Pramote Promin, southern army spokesman, told AFP.

He said the attack, one of the most ambitious in several years of violence in Thailand's deep south, had left at least 17 assailants dead.

No military casualties were reported in the early-hours assault at the base in Bacho district of Narathiwat province, one of three Muslim-dominated provinces near the border with Malaysia.

"We learned of the attack in advance from defected militants," Pramote told Thai television, adding that a key local leader of the fighters had been killed in the clashes.