Security forces on high alert after blast outside airport terminal in S. Philippines

18:48, August 06, 2010      

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The bomb attack outside an international airport terminal in southern Philippine city of Zamboanga on Thursday evening that left two people dead and 24 others wounded prompted airport marshals in other cities to tighten security as well.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, regional military spokesman, said Friday their units, along with state police, were put on the highest alert level to prevent events similar to the bombing outside the Zamboanga International Airport Thursday from happening.

Officials have re-assessed the security situation in Davao, a southeastern city. All closed-circuit television cameras were checked.

"The security was tightened. More police were deployed at the International Airport of Davao. This is to prevent similar attacks, " Cabangbang said.

Meanwhile, security forces in the city of Cagayan de Oro also increased their alert level. Personnel at the airport were directed to wear their identification cards.

Two people, including the alleged bomb carrier, were killed in the Zamboanga airport blast. Twenty four others were wounded, including Sulu province governor Abdusakur Tan and a British national.

The foreigner, Charles Macker, married to a Filipina and has been staying in the Philippines for 12 years, remains in critical condition, officials said.

The suspected suicide bombing outside the Zamboanga International Airport shortly after 6:00 p.m. Thursday happened a day before the scheduled visit of United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr., who was to look into various U.S.- funded projects in Zamboanga. Thomas has canceled his trip, the U. S. embassy said.

The airport is near the headquarters of U.S. troops helping Philippines in the anti-terror drive in the south. About 500 U.S. Special Forces troops train Philippine soldiers in the restive southern region of Mindanao to combat militants from the Al-Qaeda- linked Abu Sayyaf group, which is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Philippine troops blamed Abu Sayyaf militants.

The Abu Sayyaf, active in southern Philippines, was founded in the 1990s and has perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping and bombing. The Philippine military estimates the Abu Sayyaf, which has links with external terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, has about 400 members at present.

Source: Xinhua


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