Thursday, December 14, 2006

Terrorist Bombing Foiled In Philippines

Philippine security forces said they may have foiled a plot to bomb "soft targets" in Davao, a crowded southern port city, after seizing a pipe bomb during a raid on a suspected hideout of Muslim rebels. Military spokesman Major Augusto dela Pena said soldiers recovered an improvised explosive device near Tagum City, on the southern island of Mindanao. Two suspected members of a rogue faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who were supposed to transport the crude bomb to Davao City, escaped under cover of darkness."They fled hurriedly, leaving behind a pair of rubber slippers and warm food on the table," said an air force officer, who led the raid. The MILF, the largest of four Muslim rebel groups in the Philippines, agreed a truce with the government of the mainly Catholic country in 2003. But long-running talks to end decades of conflict remain stalled since May. During a search at the suspected safe house, bomb-sniffing dogs found the explosive device inside a black bag. "It was ready for shipment to Davao City. The only missing part of the deadly device was a triggering device, probably a mobile phone." Dela Pena said a group of Muslim rebels suspected to have close links to local militant group Abu Sayyaf and regional terror outfit Jemaah Islamiah were thought to be behind the plot. He said the make and type of the device found in Tagum was similar to explosives used by suspected MILF renegades in 2003 attacks on an airport and wharf in Davao City that killed about 30 people.