Police have dismissed claims by the Islamic State that it was responsible for recent Manila bombings that killed two and left dozens injured.
The latest attack yesterday (Saturday, May 6) saw a package being delivered by a private courier exploding in Quiapo district.
The blast — which was followed by a second explosion two hours later — killed the delivery driver and another civilian, Mohamad Bainga, and injured six others, including two forensic policemen.
It is believed the blasts were targeting the office of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nasser Abinal, who was not present at the time of the attack.
Today, the Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has claimed that the group was responsible for the bombing, saying the latest explosion targeted “Shia Rafidah” [a derogatory term for Shi’ites used by Sunni Muslims].
It also claimed the bombing in Quiapo on April 28 that wounded 14 people.
The claim was reported by the non-governmental counterterrorism organisation, SITE Intelligence Group, which said: “The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency reported the killing and wounding of 11 Shi’ites with an explosive device in downtown Manila, Philippines.”
The terror group was reported as saying: “Five Shi’ites were killed and six others wounded in a bomb blast by Islamic State fighters in the centre of Manila”.
However, police have dismissed the claims, insisting the attacks were “gang-related”.
City police chief Oscar Albayalde confirmed that the bomb was intended for Abinal, who is also government tax officer.
“He admitted there were threats to his life in the past,” he told Agence France-Presse. “This has nothing to do with terrorism. There is no indication that this was done by a terror group, local or foreign.”
There was further panic today when an abandoned bag was spotted on a busy road in Quiapo. A remotely operated device later confirmed that it posed no threat.
Meanwhile, the offensive against the Islamic State-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group continues in the south of the country, with four militants reported killed in two separate encounters today.
The past week has also seen more than 20 militants surrender to the army and police.
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