Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bomb caused blast in Basilan restaurant, police now says

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 30, 2011) – Philippine police on Thursday announced that an improvised explosive device was used in attacking a roadside restaurant in Basilan province that killed 2 people.

Police and military authorities in Basilan had previously said that a cooking gas explosion was to blame for the blast inside the Mon’s Eatery in Isabela City on June 25. More than a dozen people were also injured in the explosion.

But latest findings from a separate investigation carried out by explosive experts from the Zamboanga City police force revealed that a bomb caused the blast.

The report said the attacker hid the bomb inside a tin can and mixed it with gasoline and concrete nails and detonated the explosive with the use of a cell phone.

Broken parts of the cell phone and nails were also recovered in the restaurant, it said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, but authorities were in heightened alert in Basilan because of threats of Abu Sayyaf attacks and kidnappings.

Basilan, one of the five provinces of the Muslim autonomous region, is a stronghold of the militant group Abu Sayyaf which has been linked by the military and the police to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya.

In April, a powerful improvised explosive went off inside a lodging house in Basilan’s Lamitan City and security forces detonated three more bombs planted in various sites in Basilan.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding a Chinese-Filipino trader Larry Tam delos Santos who was kidnapped in December in Isabela City and a 16-year old student kidnapped in Lamitan. (Mindanao Examiner)

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