Three die in Thai rebel standoff

Muslim insurgents have stepped up attacks in recent months

Three people have died in a gun battle in southern Thailand as security forces clashed with insurgents, police said.
A Thai police spokesman said suspected Muslim rebels opened fire on security forces who had surrounded and stormed a house in Yala province.
One police officer, a soldier, and an insurgent were killed in the standoff, the spokesman said.
More than 3,500 people have died in a five-year separatist insurgency in Thailand's three southern provinces.
Saturday's standoff came after unknown gunmen attacked a joint military and police patrol unit, Reuters news agency reported.
It said at least two gunmen managed to escape although scores of police officers and soldiers were surrounding the building.
A recent escalation in hostilities in Thailand's restive south has left around 40 people dead and 60 wounded this month alone.