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A police officer and soldier stand guard in front of Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach are trapped inside a flooded cave, after Thailand's government instructed members of the media to move out urgently, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

(reuters_tickers)

THAM LUANG, Thailand (Reuters) - Divers began an operation to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave complex in northern Thailand, the head of the rescue mission said on Sunday.

Rescuers began the mission at 10 am local time (0300 GMT) and it would take many hours before the first boy emerged from the cave, Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

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Reuters