Imagine the bombs going off in your neighborhood
MANILA, Philippines — Two crude bombs packed with nails exploded minutes apart Thursday at a department store and a nearby clothing shop packed with Christmas shoppers in the southern Philippines, killing two people and wounding 48, officials said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts in Iligan, a predominantly Christian city, but officials have blamed Muslim rebels for similar attacks in the volatile region in the past few months.
The homemade bombs were both placed at the baggage counters of the two stores, which are about 100 feet (30 meters) apart, said Iligan city police chief Virgilio Ranes.
Two workers were killed and 48 people were wounded, including two in critical condition, hospital officials told The Associated Press. […]
Ranes said police have been on alert for months in Iligan, about 485 miles (780 kilometers) southeast of Manila, due to threats from Muslim rebels.
Sporadic clashes between government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an 11,000-strong rebel group fighting for self-rule in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation’s south, erupted in August after the country’s top court scrapped a preliminary accord on an expanded Muslim autonomous region.
More than 100 civilians and dozens of combatants have been killed.
Rebel spokesman Eid Kabalu condemned the attacks and said the government should investigate the blasts before blaming Muslim guerrillas.
“We condemn this to the highest degree,” he said. “We won’t pursue our cause by killing innocent people.”…