Philippine Bombing Kills 6

October 19, 2007 at 3:46 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MAKATI CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 19, 2007) – A suspected bomb explosion on Friday ripped through a crowded shopping mall in the Philippine business district of Makati, killing at least six people and wounded dozens more, police said.

Police said there was a report that a bomb had been planted at the Glorieta Mall in Makati City.

Initial reports said a gas leak from a fast-food restaurant may have triggered the explosion, but the huge damage to the mall was likely from a bomb.

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay said the blast left an eight-meter wide hole at the ground floor of the Glorieta Mall. “There is an eight-meter wide hole at the ground floor and the blast also damaged the second floor of the mall. There could be more casualties,” the mayor said.

Police have identified for of the dead as Janine Marcos, Liza Enriquez, Jose Allen Jesus and Lester Peregrino.

The blast damaged the second and third levels of the mall and cars were pinned by collapsed walls. Glass windows were shattered and debris scattered on roads and the whole place was sealed off by the police.

Ariel Virtucio, a witness, said he saw smoke billowing from the car park. “We saw some smoke. We saw people running outside the building,” he said.

Conflicting reports said as many as 80 people were seriously injured from the explosion and that there could be more casualties as rescuers dug through debris searching for bodies and survivors.

Police said it is still investigating the cause of the explosion. “Initial reports said the explosion was caused by a gas leak from one of the restaurant in the mall. We don’t know if the explosion was caused by LPG alone,” said Police Chief Supt. Geary Barias.

But Alfie Reyes, corporate spokesperson of the Ayala Land, which operates the Glorieta Mall, said it was unlikely the blast was caused by a gas leak. “It’s unlikely that it could have emanated from the restaurant,” he said.

Insp. McVernon Manera, chief of the intelligence and investigation section of the Makati City police, said the explosion have been from a bomb.

“We smelled gun powder when we went inside the mall shortly after the blast. We have deployed bomb experts to search for possible explosives inside the mall,” he said.

The explosion coincided with military intelligence reports that terrorists may launch attacks at any opportunity in the country. Previous bombings in the Filipino capital were blamed to the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya.

At least 53 people were also killed in a spate of bombings in Manila and southern Philippines in February 14, 2005.

In February 27, 2004, Abu Sayyaf militants bombed the 10,192-ton SuperFerry 14 off Manila Bay, killing 116 people. A series of Jemaah Islamiya bombings in December 30, 2000 in Manila also killed 21 people. (Mindanao Examiner)

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