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Flat motorcycle tire stops supposed Davao bombing–military

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 11:55:00 07/23/2008

MANILA, Philippines — A flat tire spoiled an alleged plot by a local terrorist cell affiliated with the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah to detonate a bomb-strapped motorcycle in central Mindanao, military officials said Wednesday.

Authorities seized the abandoned motorcycle in Kauran village, Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province at around 10 p.m. Tuesday, said Major Armand Rico, spokesman of the Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom).

The incident happened as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tours the southern Philippines to inspect bridge and school projects and visit families displaced by recent flooding in the Cotabato area.

“The tire [of the motorcycle] was flat before it [the vehicle] reached the [military] blockade that was set up, [the driver] got wind of it, quickly withdrew and abandoned the motorcycle. Troops are still tracking down the suspect,” Rico said in a text message to reporters.

The improvised bomb, which was hidden in the vehicle’s air cleaner, was made of TNT with a cellular phone to serve as triggering mechanism. Authorities have defused it, Rico said.

Rico said the driver of the motorcycle was believed to be going in the direction of the Davao area.

Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., military spokesman, said the bomb was assembled in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao by a Davao-based terrorist cell, headed by a certain Abdullah, who is affiliated with the JI.

“The interception of the bomb-laden motorcycle thwarted a terrorist plan to conduct bombing and harm the people in the area,” Torres said in a text message.

The JI, the Southeast Asian arm of the al Qaeda, was linked to the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombings in the cities of Makati, Davao, and General Santos that killed at least eight people and wounded several others.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-07-23T04:18:30+00:00UTC07bUTCWed, 23 Jul 2008 04:18:30 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

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