Found near US em­bassy in Philip­pines

> Home-made de­vice left in trash bin

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

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.

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