SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES: Two killed, 54 wounded after explosion near bus terminal

Muslim terrorists are suspected.

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SCMP  A powerful explosion killed at least two people and wounded 54 others in a southern Philippine port city that has been hit by similar blasts blamed on Muslim militants, police said today The blast occurred at a bar across the street from a busy bus terminal in Zamboanga city, damaged nearby establishments and hitting the victims with flying glass and debris.

One officer was among the wounded, police said. Police suspected the Islamic militant Abu Sayyaf group, which operates in Zamboanga and nearby provinces, saying the attack could have been in retaliation for the foiled prison escape of a brother of one of the group’s leaders.

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Earlier this week, army special forces killed at least three Abu Sayyaf gunmen in running gunbattles and have continued to pursue the militants in nearby Basilan province. The group has previously set off bombs to divert attention from military operations. The bar and the bus terminal had been separately hit several years ago by bomb blasts blamed on the Abu Sayyaf.

At least two suspected militants were arrested in another bomb attack near a police station last month, he said. The Abu Sayyaf numbers about 300 fighters and remains a major security threat in the country’s south despite US-backed Philippine military offensives.

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