Skip to comments.Police foil plot to bomb Quiapo fiesta (Philippines)
Posted on 01/07/2005 8:49:53 PM PST by Straight Vermonter
Police said Friday they have foiled a plot to bomb Sundays celebration of the feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo with the arrest of a group of suspected Islamic militants assembling bombs at a building in Ermita.
Members of the Western Police District rounded up 14 suspects during a raid Friday afternoon on the third floor of the Agoncillo Building on Taft Avenue, near Pedro Gil Street in Ermita.
Supt. Elmer Jamias, chief of the WPD Station 5, said his men confiscated improvised explosive devices and bomb components, including timing gadgets and cables.
Jamias said the suspects were planning to explode the bombs during the annual procession, which draws thousands of devotees.
The WPD and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group had received reports that some groups were planning suicide attacks during the procession.
Had we not recovered these bombs and arrested these people, the procession could have turned into a bloodbath, Jamias said on DZBB radio.
Tens of thousands of barefoot devotees take part in the procession, in which an ebony icon of the Nazarene is taken from Quiapo church and paraded around the district.
Among the most prominent regular participants is Vice President Noli de Castro.
Jamias said the suspects were members of a Return to Islam movementformer Christians who have converted to Islam.
We are still looking for some suspects and evaluating the evidence, he said.
The suspects include three women believed to belong to a terrorist cell operating in Metro Manila.
The Metro Manila police chief, Director Avelino Razon Jr., said the raid was part of the continuing investigation into the explosion in Cubao, Quezon City, on New Years Eve and the attempted bombing of a bus in Quiapo on Christmas Day.
Four persons were injured after a device exploded in front of a Philtrust Bank on EDSA, Cubao, and a bomb found on a G-Liner bus was defused by bomb experts.
On Tuesday the National Security Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., said that the Cubao explosion could be part of attempts to destabilize the government.
The identities and nationalities of the suspects were not disclosed.
The Philippines is fighting a decades-old Muslim separatist insurgency in Mindanao, where radical members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are accused of giving sanctuary and training to members of the Jemaah Islamiah.
Jemaah Islamiah is the Southeast Asian wing of al-Qaeda and has been blamed for the Bali bombing in October 2002 that claimed 202 lives.
My Boss is in th phillpines, Thank god they were able to get those bad guys!!
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"Philippines says it foiled truck bomb plot on US embassy "
The plot by the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) would have involved "an attack on the US embassy using a 1,000-kilogram (2,200-pound) truck bomb," Gonzales said in an interview.
He said the explosives were recovered after Daud Santos, a Muslim convert who is allegedly a member of the JI-linked Abu Sayyaf group, was arrested in a police raid in Manila in March.
The embassies of Australia and Britain, key US allies in the "war on terror," were also eyed as targets, Gonzales said.
"The 1,000-kilo bomb was not just a blueprint. It was a fact. We just happened to get lucky that time," said Gonzales.
"We know the Australian and British embassies, which are housed in high rise buildings, and the US embassy on Manila Bay and one upmarket shopping mall in Manila are targets," he said.
He added that Santos was now free on bail, highlighting Manila's failure to pass an anti-terrorist law that would enable the government to hold terrorist suspects for longer periods.
Under existing laws, suspects detained for possessing explosives can post bail while the judiciary determines their guilt.
"Our intelligence shows us that the organisation has about 70 members, 12 of which have been identified. All of them were recruited and converted while working in the Middle East," he said.
"We also know most of their funding comes from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait," he said. "To the Muslim extremists, the Philippines is perceived as an ally of the United States and therefore is a legitimate target."
Gonzales said Philippine intelligence was working closely with its counterparts in Australia, the United States and Indonesia tracking known terrorists and terror cells.
"It was the Indonesians who tipped us off that there could be up to 10 Indonesian suicide bombers in the Philippines, at least two of which could be in Manila," he said.