Children killed in mass stabbing and shooting at Thailand preschool

Thirty-eight people have been killed, most of them young children, in an unprecedented gun and knife attack at a preschool centre in north-east Thailand that has horrified the country.

The attacker, a former police officer, opened fire as children were sleeping at the centre in Na Klang district in Nong Bua Lamphu province at about noon on Thursday, police and witnesses said.

Police said most of the children killed at the centre were stabbed to death. As he left the nursery the attacker drove his car towards and shot at bystanders then returned home, where he shot himself, his wife and his child.

Police identified the attacker as Panya Khamrab, a 34-year-old former police lieutenant colonel who had been dismissed from the force last year for methamphetamine possession and had appeared in court earlier on Thursday on a drugs charge.

Witnesses said he was in an agitated state when he arrived at the nursery.

Images from the scene showed a nursery schoolroom, its walls covered in alphabet letters and paintings of animals. The bodies of children lay on sleeping mats, with white sheets placed over them.

Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said in a statement on Facebook that he offered his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.



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