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Thailand claims success in Bangkok operation

Thailand claims success in Bangkok operation BANGKOK – The Thai government has claimed that the army has been successful in its initial push to clear a protest zone in central Bangkok.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn claimed protest leaders have fled the area. But one of the leaders, Nattawut Saikua, appeared on stage in the protest zone several minutes before Panitan spoke and said he has not fled.

Channel 9 television station also said that Nattawut and two other leaders were still in the protest zone Wednesday.

Panitan says "our security operation to secure the (protest zone) around Bangkok has been successful."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BANGKOK (AP) — An Associated Press photographer has seen three foreign journalists shot during the army operation in Bangkok, and one of them appears dead.

The photographer saw the three at a hospital Wednesday a few hours after the crackdown began to clear an anti-government protest site in central Bangkok.

He says one of the journalists, who looked Middle Eastern, was shot in the chest. His eyes were rolled back and he showed no signs of life.

He says a Dutch journalist walked into the hospital with a bullet wound in his shoulder. The third journalist is a Westerner in his late 40s who was shot in the leg.

The photographer also saw at least seven Thais brought to a hospital. It was not clear if they were dead or unconscious.

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