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2 Killed in Philippine Bus Blast

It is unclear if attacker died in explosion that injured 20 a day after two fatal bombings.

October 19, 2002|From Times Wire Services

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — A bomb tore through a passenger bus in this Manila suburb Friday night, killing two people and injuring 20, police said.

There were no immediate suspects or claims of responsibility for the latest in a series of bombings this month in a nation where U.S.-trained troops are battling a Muslim rebel group.

The blast in the blue Golden Highway company bus ripped off its roof and part of its sides and sent debris flying 20 to 30 yards. The passenger who brought the explosive aboard the bus was believed to be among the dead, but it was unclear whether the blast was intended as a suicide attack.

"I was inside when it happened," Merly Villareal, a teenager, told local television as she fought back tears.

"All I know is there was an explosion. I was pushed, and then I saw bodies," she said.

The explosion came a day after two deadly bombings in the southern Philippines and hours after a grenade blast in the capital's financial district.

Officials said Abu Sayyaf, which the Philippine and U.S. governments have linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist network, was the most likely suspect for Thursday's bombings in Zamboanga, which killed seven people and injured more than 150.

Abu Sayyaf recently threatened attacks in retaliation for an ongoing military offensive against the group and has been blamed for an Oct. 2 bombing in Zamboanga that killed four people, including an American Green Beret.

Earlier Friday, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited the Zamboanga bombing sites and urged her people to help fight terrorists. She said troops and police had identified the suspects and were looking for them.

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