Philippine Muslim Rebels Offer Help To Probe Deadly Shopping Center Bombing

October 20, 2007 at 6:05 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 20, 2007) – The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has offered to help Saturday to investigate the deadly shopping center bombing in the country’s financial district.

At least 9 people were dead and 129 others, including two Koreans and a Chinese national, wounded in the attack Friday in Glorieta Mall in Makati City.

Police found traces of RDX, considered the most powerful (high velocity shattering speed) of the military high explosives.

RDX is a white crystalline solid usually used in mixtures with other explosives, oils, or waxes; it is rarely used alone, but is one of the main explosives in torpedoes, rockets, and bomb warheads. It is used in very specialized detonators, blasting caps, and demolition charges.

“We are willing to help the Philippine government investigate the blast or provide intelligence to authorities and even track down then perpetrators if ever they are now in southern Philippines,” Eid Kabalu, a rebel spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

But Filipino authorities have not come out with any conclusive findings about who was behind the explosion. Although, security officials have hinted the attack could be the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf group tied to al-Qaeda and blamed for previous bombings in the Philippines.

No group claimed responsibility for the blast, but it 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 and 116 people the previous year when Abu Sayyaf militants firebombed the 10,192-ton SuperFerry 14 off Manila Bay.

A series of Jemaah Islamiya bombings in December 30, 2000 in Manila also killed 21 people.

The use of RDX in terror attacks in the Philippines is new, but can be easily manufactured from common ingredients from camping supply stores, general pharmacies and auto parts stores.

It is often in explosive mixtures with TNT and is believed to have been used in many bomb plots. The mixture of nitrate and RDX is an al-Qaeda hallmark, according to Western intelligence reports.

RDX was said to have been used in the Bombay serial bomb blasts of March 8, 1993 in which more than 300 people were killed and about 1500 injured. Again, on July 11, 2006, a series of powerful explosions took place on seven suburban railway trains on Mumbai’s Western Railway line killing 209 and injuring over 700.

RDX stands for Research Department composition X. In other countries, new military explosives were given an identification number preceded by the letters ‘RD’ indicating ‘Research Department No.’ and for some reason, this explosive was unable to be given a number, instead, the letter ‘X’ was appended to indicate ‘unknown’ with the intention of adding the number later.

RDX was extensively used by al-Qaeda militants to bomb targets in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In December 2004, al-Qaeda terrorist Ramzi Yousef also sneaked a chemical explosive – liquid nitroglycerin disguised as contact lens cleaner – on a Philippine Air Line flight from Cebu to Japan and detonated the bomb, wounding a Japanese businessman.

Philippine authorities were investigating how the RDX was smuggled into the shopping center, but the blast originated from the stockroom of the restaurant called Luk Yuen. (Mindanao Examiner)

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