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Islamic militants blamed for deadly Philippine blast

An explosive device tore through the bustling market in the heart of Davao and close to one of its top hotels.

Published: 03rd September 2016 02:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2016 02:31 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

DAVAO: Philippine authorities today blamed a notorious group of Islamic militants for the bombing of a night market in President Rodrigo Duterte's home town that killed at least 14 people.

An improvised explosive device tore through the bustling market in the heart of Davao city and close to one of its top hotels just before 11:00pm (local time) yesterday.

Authorities said the Abu Sayyaf, a small band of militants that has declared allegiance to the Islamic State group, most likely carried out the attack in response to a military offensive launched against it last week.

"The office of the president texted and confirmed that was an Abu Sayyaf retaliation. For the city government side, we are working on that it is an Abu Sayyaf retaliation," Davao mayor Sara Duterte, who is also the president's daughter, told CNN Philippines.

National Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Abu Sayyaf had struck back after suffering heavy casualties on its stronghold of Jolo island about 900 kilometres from Davao.

"We have predicted this and warned our troops accordingly but the enemy is also adept at using the democratic space granted by our constitution to move around freely and unimpeded to sow terror," Lorenzana said in a statement.

Duterte, who was in Davao at the time of the attack but not near the market, told reporters before dawn today that it was an act of terrorism, as he announced extra powers for the military.

At least 14 people were killed and another 67 were wounded in the explosion, police said. Sixteen of the injured were in critical condition, a local hospital director told reporters.

"The force just hurled me. I practically flew in the air," Adrian Abilanosa told AFP shortly after the attack as bodies lay strewn amid broken plastic tables and chairs.

Davao is the biggest city in the southern Philippines, with a population of about two million people. It is about 1,500 kilometres from the capital of Manila.

The city is part of the southern region of Mindanao, where Islamic militants have waged a decades-long separatist insurgency that has claimed more than 120,000 lives.

Duterte had bIslamic militants blamed for deadly Philippine blast Davao (Philippines), Sep 3 (AFP) Philippine authorities today blamed a notorious group of Islamic militants for the bombing of a night market in President Rodrigo Duterte's home town that killed at least 14 people.

An improvised explosive device tore through the bustling market in the heart of Davao city and close to one of its top hotels just before 11:00pm (local time) yesterday.

Authorities said the Abu Sayyaf, a small band of militants that has declared allegiance to the Islamic State group, most likely carried out the attack in response to a military offensive launched against it last week.

"The office of the president texted and confirmed that was an Abu Sayyaf retaliation. For the city government side, we are working on that it is an Abu Sayyaf retaliation," Davao mayor Sara Duterte, who is also the president's daughter, told CNN Philippines.

National Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Abu Sayyaf had struck back after suffering heavy casualties on its stronghold of Jolo island about 900 kilometres from Davao.

"We have predicted this and warned our troops accordingly but the enemy is also adept at using the democratic space granted by our constitution to move around freely and unimpeded to sow terror," Lorenzana said in a statement.

Duterte, who was in Davao at the time of the attack but not near the market, told reporters before dawn today that it was an act of terrorism, as he announced extra powers for the military.

At least 14 people were killed and another 67 were wounded in the explosion, police said. Sixteen of the injured were in critical condition, a local hospital director told reporters.

"The force just hurled me. I practically flew in the air," Adrian Abilanosa told AFP shortly after the attack as bodies lay strewn amid broken plastic tables and chairs.

Davao is the biggest city in the southern Philippines, with a population of about two million people. It is about 1,500 kilometres from the capital of Manila.

The city is part of the southern region of Mindanao, where Islamic militants have waged a decades-long separatist insurgency that has claimed more than 120,000 lives.

Duterte had been mayor of Davao for most of the past two decades, before winning national elections in a landslide this year and being sworn in as president on June 30.

Duterte became well known for bringing relative peace and order to Davao with hardline security policies, while also brokering deals with local Muslim and communist rebels.

Duterte has in recent weeks pursued peace talks with the two main Muslim rebel groups, which each has thousands of armed followers. Their leaders have said they want to broker a lasting peace.

However the Abu Sayyaf, a much smaller and hardline group infamous for kidnapping foreigners to extract ransoms, has rejected Duterte's peace overtures. (AFP)een mayor of Davao for most of the past two decades, before winning national elections in a landslide this year and being sworn in as president on June 30.

Duterte became well known for bringing relative peace and order to Davao with hardline security policies, while also brokering deals with local Muslim and communist rebels.

Duterte has in recent weeks pursued peace talks with the two main Muslim rebel groups, which each has thousands of armed followers. Their leaders have said they want to broker a lasting peace.

However the Abu Sayyaf, a much smaller and hardline group infamous for kidnapping foreigners to extract ransoms, has rejected Duterte's peace overtures.

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