Homeland Security

Bomb Discovered, Defused Near U.S. Embassy in Manila

Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa inspects an 81mm mortar shell found inside a suspicious package near the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Nov. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The U.S. Embassy in Manila said that police disabled an explosive device discovered outside the gated facility early this morning.

According to a security message sent out to U.S. citizens in the Philippines, an improvised explosive device was found in a trash can about 650 feet south of the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Boulevard. The Embassy is not far from the street, but is guarded by an iron fence and security checkpoint.

Philippine National Police “quickly cordoned off the area,” the message continued. “There were no injuries and an investigation into this incident is underway. The authorities have not yet determined which individuals and/or organizations may be responsible, nor have they established whether or not the Embassy was the intended target.”

Citizens were urged to be vigilant at all times and were reminded of a worldwide caution issued in September that noted “extremists have targeted sporting events, theaters, markets, mass transportation systems – including airlines, and other public venues where large crowds gather.  Crowded nightclubs, shopping malls, buses, and popular restaurants have also been targets.”

National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said at a news conference that the IED was similar to one used by the ISIS-linked Maute group in a deadly September attack in Davao City.

Dela Rosa theorized that the bomb may have been meant as a “diversion” from anti-ISIS operations being waged by the military elsewhere in the country.

According to the Manila Bulletin, the bomb consisted of a cellphone, blasting cap, 9-volt battery and 81mm mortar. It was discovered by a street sweeper.

Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the device was powerful enough to have caused major damage and casualties within about a 330-foot radius.