Manila: Suspected local agents of Daesh have claimed responsibility for the Friday attack in downtown Manila that wounded 14 people. Authorities, however, dismiss the claim saying that the group is exploiting the incident for its own purposes.
The SITE Intelligence Group, citing a report by the Amaq News Agency, said Daesh has claimed responsibility for the Friday attack at a travelling carnival in Quiapo district.
“The so-called Islamic State [Daesh] has claimed the bombing in a busy Manila district on Friday night, the group’s news agency reported, contradicting police statements that it was not connected to terrorism,” SITE said.
Amaq News Agency is a suspected propaganda mouthpiece of the Middle East and North Africa-based terror group.
Initial reports issued by Philippine officials said a pipe bomb was used in the blast. Videos and photographs on the incident and the damage and injuries it caused were circulated in local sharing sites.
The explosion took place in front of the Tower Lodging House in Soler Street and Quezon Boulevard.
The incident also occurred as the Philippines capital was hosting the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc.
But Police Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, said the incident is not related to the Philippines’ hosting of the international event. He said initial investigations indicate it was a fight between two warring street gangs.
“The fight happened when a 14-year-old boy was mauled by three youngsters the night before. The father of the boy retaliated by throwing a pipe bomb at a group of youngsters in the area,” Albayalde said.
He added the police are already hunting down the person responsible for the blast. he said the bomb was made out of crude materials such as a galvanised iron pipe and gunpowder from readily accessible firecrackers.
Albayalde said Daesh are militants are “taking advantage of the incident to promote their cause”.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana likewise shrugged off claims that Daesh had a hand in the blast.
Several terror incidents in the Philippines had been attributed to the Daesh through the Maute group, which operates in Lanao, the Western Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf as well as the Rajah Soliman Group, an organisation of Muslim converts.
During the Asean meeting, Manila has placed on alert some 40,000 members of the police and the armed forces to secure the summit site.
Quiapo is located at an area known to Christians as well as Muslims. It is where the Quiapo Church and the Golden Mosque is situated.