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A bomb explosion has rocked the centre of Bangkok killing at least 21 people and injuring up to 80 more, although the death toll could rise further.

Reports from the Thai capital suggest the explosion targeted a popular Hindu shrine and tourist attraction, close to the main shopping district and luxury hotels.

According to an eyewitness a second and third unexploded device was found at the scene, one inside the Erawan Shrine and one on the nearby Skytrain transit system.

The explosion happened at 7pm local time and Thai police have confirmed it was a motorcycle bomb.

Bomb attacks are rare in Bangkok but today’s atrocity has prompted speculation that a separatist Islamic group from the south of the country could be responsible.

Thailand remains under a state of martial law after last year’s overthrowing of the government.

The incident took place at the Ratchaprasong intersection in the city that was close to the centre of political demonstrations.