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Three bombs jolt Philippines, killing 3
Updated: 2005-02-14 21:39

MANILA, Philippines - Three bombs jolted the Philippines on Monday, killing at least three people and wounding at least 16 others, police said.

The brutal Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility in a call between the explosions.

One blast, outside the Gaisano Mall in southern General Santos city, could be heard a mile away around 6:30 p.m., witnesses said. Police said at least three people were killed and at least 15 others were injured.

National police chief Edgar Aglipay said the bomb was believed to have been stashed in a bag at a stand for three-wheel pedi-cabs about 30 yards away from the mall entrance.

Another bomb went off almost simultaneously at a bus terminal in Davao, also in the southern Philippines, and injured one person.

"You can attribute this to us," an Abu Sayyaf leader, Abu Solaiman, said in a call to local radio 20 minutes after the blasts. "There is one more to come."

The third bombing was reported soon afterward on a bus along Manila's busy EDSA highway just below a station for an elevated train.

Officials have expressed concerns over the prospect of a terrorist attack in the country's restive south as the military carries out an all-out assault on Jolo island against a group of gunmen who recently attacked troops in the region, sparking clashes that have killed at least 60.

The gunmen are believed to include followers of jailed Muslim leader Nur Misuari, backed by Abu Sayyaf members.

"We warned our units about these threats as early as last week," Aglipay said. "We have already advised our policemen in the field to see to it that all necessary security measures be taken to avoid people being killed or injured."

A bombing killed at least 14 people and wounded 70 others Dec. 12 in General Santos, a bustling, predominantly Christian city of 500,000 people about 620 miles south of Manila.

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