YANGON - It was just before midnight when the crude time-bomb exploded in the ninth-floor guest room in the luxurious Traders Hotel in Myanmar's biggest city, badly wounding an American tourist and showering the streets below with glass.
A police source told Reuters the explosion late on Monday was part of a coordinated series of bomb attacks across Myanmar by an "organised group", targeting tourist haunts, a Buddhist temple and other public places. It was the seventh blast since Friday and was followed by two more explosions early on Tuesday.
Soon after the bomb went off at the Traders in Yangon, another device exploded in the parking lot of the Shwe Pyitsone Hotel in Sagaing region and another at a pagoda, Sagaing police and a government official said. There were no casualties.
The bomb attacks are the latest violence in a year that has seen the euphoria over democratic reforms give way to sectarian attacks that have spread across Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Anti-Muslim unrest simmered under the military junta that ran the Buddhist-dominated country for nearly half a century.
But the worst has occurred since the quasi-civilian government took power in March 2011.
Police and diplomatic sources, however, said it was not clear if the blasts were connected to religious unrest.
"I think these blasts and aborted attempts were carried out by a systematically organised group," said a police official in Yangon who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the media.