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American hurt in explosion at Myanmar hotel

| Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, 2:51 p.m.

YANGON, Myanmar — A small explosion ripped through a room in one of the most prestigious hotels in Myanmar's main city just before midnight on Monday, wounding one American, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast at the Trader's Hotel in Yangon, but the incident came after several small homemade bombs exploded around the country in recent days, reportedly killing two people and injuring three others.

There was no visible damage to exterior of the hotel, but the explosion tore apart part of one room on the ninth floor of the building, leaving toilet paper, towels and a red purse scattered across the room's entranceway beside a broken wooden wardrobe door.

A dozen police and soldiers crowded into the room, which was blocked off with security tape, and shattered glass littered the road outside.

A police officer on the scene who declined to named because he was unauthorized to speak about the incident said a 43-year-old American woman was slightly injured and taken to a Yangon hospital.

He said the blast occurred in or near the room's bathroom, and the woman's husband and two children were unhurt.

An American Embassy official confirmed that one American was injured and taken to a Yangon hospital, but gave no other details.

Police in the Southeast Asian nation had earlier urged caution after several small bombs exploded around the city.

No one claimed responsibility for the blasts and it was not immediately clear if they were related. The explosions occurred as the country prepares to host the Southeast Asian Games in December.

Small explosions occurred frequently when Myanmar was under 50 years of military rule, most often blamed on anti-government student activists or armed ethnic groups. But such incidents have become rare in recent years.

The first bomb reportedly went off Friday at a guesthouse in Taungoo, a town 125 miles from Yangon, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma newspaper. It said two people were killed, but those casualties could not immediately be confirmed.

On Sunday, two other homemade bombs went off in Yangon. One of the bombs, attached to the bottom of a truck parked outside a market on Yangon's eastern side, wounded three civilians, according to a statement posted on Myanmar's police Facebook page. Another homemade bomb exploded one at a bus stop in the west of the city, but no casualties were reported in that blast.

Police called on the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious packages found at bus or train stations, or at the seaport.

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