Philippine Explosion Kills 14, Hurts 45

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From Times Wire Services

Three explosions ripped through a major city in the southern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least 14 people and injuring 45 others.

Abu Muslin Ghazi, who identified himself as a regional commander of the Muslim guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf, told Radio Mindanao Network today that the rebels were responsible for the bombing outside a busy department store in downtown General Santos.

Ghazi blamed the U.S. military presence for the attack. “What happened yesterday was only a warm up,” he said.


Within 40 minutes of the Gensan Fitmart department store blast, bombs went off near a radio station and a bus terminal in the largely Christian city on the island of Mindanao, a focal point of Muslim rebellion.

Police said it was too early to accuse any specific group of carrying out Sunday’s bombings, blaming only “terrorists.” Spokesmen for the Abu Sayyaf said they had no knowledge of the group’s involvement.

But a Radio Mindanao Network office in nearby Koronadal said it received a call an hour before the first blast from a man who earlier called to complain about police boasts that the city was safe from terrorists.

The second bomb went off near a radio station, apparently causing no injuries, and was followed several minutes later by the bus terminal blast, which wounded several people, the city’s disaster operations center said.

Bartolome Baluyot, police chief for central Mindanao, said two unexploded bombs were discovered under a truck parked in front of the department store. Most businesses closed, and checkpoints were set up on major roads as part of a security clampdown amid fears of further explosions.