Found near US embassy in Philippines
> Home-made device left in trash bin
MANILA: Philippine police conducted a controlled detonation of a home-made bomb found in a trash bin near the US embassy in Manila yesterday and said militants sympathetic to Islamic State (IS) could have been responsible.
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa said components of the improvised explosive device suggested it could have been planted by the Maute, a rebel group that has pledged allegiance to IS.
Maute’s fighters were locked in a standoff with the military for a third day in the country’s south. More rebels were reported killed yesterday, taking the number of dead to 19.
“We could theorise that they could use this as a diversion,” dela Rosa told a news conference.
The embassy had no immediate comment on the discovery of the bomb, which was left about 200m from the compound. Business there continued as normal, with dozens of Filipinos queuing outside for visa applications.
An 81mm mortar round was used as an explosive device and that was a signature of the group, dela Rosa said. Similar components were used in a Sept 2 bombing in Davao, which killed 15.
Maute were blamed for that attack and four of its members were held and found with video clips of them pledging allegiance.
Dela Rosa said intelligence operations would be stepped up and checkpoints would be set up around the capital.
Since the Davao bombing, the nation has been under what is termed a “state of lawlessness”, allowing the army to support the police, if required by the president.
That has led to frequent speculation that martial law could be declared to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drugs war, something his office has repeatedly dismissed.
“The government will not use an incident that will cause panic, fear and undue harm to declare martial law,” he said. – Reuters
Dela Rosa points to the device found by a street sweeper near the US embassy during a press conference at the police headquarters in Manila yesterday.