Sun, Oct 07, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Bomb attack on busy Philippine streetkills two young girls

AFP , KIDAPAWAN CITY, PHILIPPINES

Philippine police said yesterday they believe the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network was behind a bomb attack in the south in which two children died.

Police chief Avelino Razon said Friday's attacks bore the "signature" of the Jemaah Islamiyah, which has links with local Muslim extremists such as the Abu Sayyaf.

On a visit to the scene of the blasts, Razon said a 12-year-old girl had died from her injuries, taking the toll to two.

An eight-year-old girl died when the two bombs exploded on a busy street in the southern city of Kidapawan on Friday.

Razon also put police forces across the country on alert to prevent a repeat of the two blasts, which occurred minutes apart.

SUSPECT HELD

During his visit Razon met Jorge German, who was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the blasts.

Razon said eyewitnesses had identified German as placing a package near where the first bomb exploded.

However, German said he was innocent and had only been drinking in the area with some friends when the blasts took place.

Kidapawan, a popular tourist destination near the country's highest peak, is mostly Christian.

In January, two people were injured in a bombing in the city believed to have been the work of Islamic militants.

MILITARY HUNTS

The latest attacks came as the military hunts down Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah rebels on the nearby islands of Jolo and Basilan. Both groups are said to be linked to al-Qaeda.

The Philippine military has been hunting for two Jemaah Islamiyah rebels, suspects in the Bali bombings that killed about 200 people, for more than a year with no success, despite intelligence support from the US military.

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