YALA, Thailand - A Thai soldier, a policeman and a suspected Muslim militant were killed in an early morning clash in the kingdom's troubled south on Saturday, police said.
They said about 200 officers and soldiers sealed off a house after villagers tipped them off about a building where separatist militants were staying in the Bannang Sata district of Yala province.
Militants inside the house opened fire on security forces as they stormed the building, killing one soldier and a policeman, police said, while a man was shot dead as he tried to escape.
An unknown number of men remain inside the house while security forces continue to surround it, police added.
Violence in Thailand's deep south has spiked in recent weeks, with masked gunmen killing 11 worshippers in a mosque earlier this month in Narathiwat province - one of the worst attacks in the past five years of insurgency.
Thai police have announced a 5,900-dollar reward for leads on the attack, which wounded another 12 people as they attended evening prayers.
More than 3,700 people have died since early 2004 in the mostly ethnic Malay provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The southern region was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.