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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 February 2006, 15:40 GMT
Blast at US Philippines army base
An explosion near a Philippine army base being used by US troops has wounded about 20 people, reports say.

The blast happened at a karaoke bar on Jolo, an island hit by attacks by Abu Sayyaf Islamic rebels. US troops are on Jolo for counter-terrorism exercises.

US military officials said that no US servicemen were among those hurt, and said planned exercises would continue.

A spokesman said Abu Sayyaf, which has kidnapped Americans in the past, did have the capability to attack the bar.

The blast happened at a temporary karaoke bar erected close to the gates of Jolo's army base, Brigadier General Alexander Aleo told the Reuters news agency.

About 250 US troops are due to join Filipino units for annual exercises beginning on Monday.

"We don't know who was behind the attack. But there's only one group capable of doing this - it's the Abu Sayyaf."

Jolo has seen regular attacks by Abu Sayyaf in recent years, despite US-backed counter-insurgency efforts by the Philippine army.


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