Philippine police find home-made bomb near US embassy

World Monday 28/November/2016 15:57 PM
By: Times News Service
Philippine police find home-made bomb near US embassy

Manila: Philippine police conducted a controlled detonation of a home-made bomb found in a trash bin near the US embassy in Manila on Monday and said militants sympathetic to 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 on Monday, 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 200 metres from the compound. Business there continued as normal, with dozens of Filipinos queuing outside for visa applications.
An 81 mm 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 September 2 bombing in Davao, which killed 15 people died and wounded about 70.
Maute were blamed for that attack and four of its members were arrested 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 Philippines has been under what is termed a "state of lawlessness", allowing the military 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.
"For God's sake, the government will not use an incident that will cause panic, fear and undue harm to declare martial law," he said.
In Lanao, a restive southern province, soldiers battled the Maute group to re-take an old town hall building, sending hundreds of residents fleeing.
Army spokesman Major Filemon Tan said about a dozen soldiers had been wounded in an air-and-ground assault.
The military dropped bombs from planes and rained artillery shells on southern rebels on Monday, the third day of a siege of militants sympathetic to IS, during which 35 guerrillas have been killed, the army said.
Several US-made OV-10B planes circled in the air before diving and dropping payloads on fortified positions of the Maute rebel group, which has occupied a town hall in Lanao province, said army spokesman Major Filemon Tan.
"As of noon today (on Monday), there's heavy engagement in the area as our troops are conducting clearing operations," Tan said, adding 13 soldiers were wounded in the offensive, which began on Saturday.
Italian-made trainer planes and OV-10 Bronco aircraft were also called in help retake the old municipal hall.
Tan said the military was trying to contain fighting in the area and keep it from spilling over to other areas in Mindanao.
"A heavy fight is ongoing, but we hope to neutralise this Maute group soon," he added.