British national injured in bomb attack at airport in S Philippines

15:23, August 06, 2010      

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A British national was among the 24 people seriously injured when a homemade bomb went off Thursday night outside an international airport terminal in southern Philippines, officials said on Friday.

The British national has been living in the city for 12 years and is married to a Filipina, Zamboanga City mayor Celso Lobregat told reporters.

The suicide bombing outside Zamboanga International Airport shortly after 6:00 p.m. Thursday came a day before the scheduled visit of U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. who will look into various U.S.-funded projects in Zamboanga.

Thomas subsequently canceled his scheduled visit to Zamboanga city but added that the United States is ready to offer any assistance requested by Philippine authorities.

The airport is just near the headquarters of US troops helping Philippines in anti-terror drive in the south. About 500 U.S. Special Forces troops train Filipino soldiers in Mindanao to combat militants from the Al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization.

As of Friday morning, two people have been confirmed dead while the number of injured has already climbed to 24, including the British national and a governor.

One of the fatalities, Reynaldo Apelado, died on the spot and is believed to be the bomber, while the second victim Jasimin Jaron is believed to be the companion of Apelado. Authorities are still investigating whether Jaron took part in the bombing.

There was no intelligence report about possible attacks by suspected Al-Qaida linked militants in the past few weeks, the military said, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Philippine troops blamed Abu Sayyaf militants playing an active role in previous incidents.

Source: Xinhua


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