updated 2/1/2009 6:10:50 AM ET 2009-02-01T11:10:50

A grenade blast killed eight people and wounded 27 others during an outdoor celebration next to a Buddhist temple in northeastern Thailand, police said Sunday.

One of three men in a drunken brawl hurled a hand grenade in a field where hundreds of people were celebrating the completion of a new temple pavilion with dancing and folk music, said Pol. Col. Thammajak Kongmongkol.

The attack in Nong Bua Lamphu province, 260 miles northeast of Bangkok, occurred just before midnight on Saturday, said Thammajak. There was no indication that the blast was related to Thailand's continuing political strife.

The three men, apparently drunk, were seen fighting in front of the stage before the explosion occurred, Thammajak said, adding that two of the men had been detained. Another man escaped.

"One of them has confessed to throwing a hand grenade at his opponent during a fight and it landed in the crowd," he said.

Five women, one man, and two teenage girls were killed near the stage where singers and dancers were performing, he said. Six of the injured were in serious condition with shrapnel wounds.

Bombing incidents are rare but not unheard of in Thailand.

Several grenades have been lobbed in the capital in recent months amid protests by rival political factions, killing several and leaving dozens wounded. No one has been held responsible.

Temple fairs on holy days and public holidays are common in the predominantly Buddhist country.

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