- Title: PHILIPPINES: BOMB RIPS THROUGH A CROWD AT DAVOA AIRPORT KILLING 18 PEOPLE
- Date: 4th March 2003
- Summary: (W5) CAMP ABUBAKRE, COTABATO, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES (FILE - FEBRUARY 11, 1999) (REUTERS) SV SIGN AND ENTRANCE TO CAMP ABUBAKRE LV/SLV MILF REBELS ON BOARD VEHICLE (2 SHOTS) LV/SV MILF REBELS MARCHING AROUND CAMP ABUBAKRE (4 SHOTS) LV REBELS STANDING IN LINE CU OF MILF BADGE PAN TO SOLDIER'S FACE LV REBELS SHOUTING "ALLAHU AKHBAR"
- Embargoed: 19th March 2003 12:00
- Location: DAVAO, PHILIPPINES
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: General,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9JLNLDWCOZ9W3JFUOUUH8P1UO
- Story Text: A bomb ripped through a crowd at an airport in the strife-torn southern Philippines on Tuesday, killing at least 18 people and wounding up to 100.
At least one American was among the dead on Tuesday (March 4) in the blast at the Davao international airport in the Mindanao region, where U.S. troops are training government troops to fight Muslim rebels. Three other Americans were wounded.
It was not immediately clear if the Americans were tourists or people working in the Philippines.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the blast was a "brazen act of terrorism which will not go unpunished".
The bomb went off in the midst of scores of people who had taken refuge from a downpour in a shelter just outside the airport's arrival terminal. The blast in Davao, the Philippines' second-largest city, ripped through the roof of the shelter.
Soon after that explosion, a home-made bomb went off outside a health centre in the nearby town of Tagum, killing one person and wounding three, police said.
The military said it had no suspects but suggested the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest of four Muslim separatist groups in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic country, was responsible. The rebels denied any involvement and no other group claimed responsibility.
Davao, a gateway to Mindanao, has largely escaped the separatist violence which has plagued the region for decades.
Doctors told radio stations in Manila that around 100 people had been wounded, 20 of them seriously. Many of those in hospital had shrapnel wounds, they said.
The U.S. Embassy said one American was killed in the attack and three others were wounded. An embassy spokesman said he could not comment on what the Americans were doing in the area because of privacy concerns.
Arroyo called an emergency meeting of the cabinet oversight committee, which discusses internal security issues, for Tuesday evening, her office said in a statement.
U.S. special forces are now on Mindanao, training Philippine units in counter-terrorism tactics in and around the city of Zamboanga, 350 km (220 miles) west of Davao.
No one claimed responsibility for the blast in Davao, about 980 km (610 miles) south of Manila. Davao is the second-largest city, after the capital, Manila.
The blast in Davao tore through a shelter about 15 metres (yards) from the airport's domestic terminal as people waited for arriving passengers. Initial reports said an explosive device was placed inside a black box inside or near the waiting area.
Most of Davao's 1.2 million people are Christian but most of the Philippines' five million Muslims live in the Mindanao region.
Philippine soldiers overran a key MILF stronghold near the town of Pikit in central Mindanao in mid-February after a week of intense fighting.
The military has said several recent bombings, including an attack on power pylons that blacked out much of the island, were reprisal attacks by the MILF.
On February 20, a bomb at a domestic airport near the city of Cotabato in central Mindanao killed one soldier and wounded six civilians. That attack was blamed on the MILF. The rebel group has denied aiming at civilians, saying its only target was the military.
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