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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Eight dead in Philippines blast
Damaged cars outside the Gloria shopping mall in Manila
The blast at the mall blew debris out into the street
At least eight people have died after a suspected bomb attack in the Philippine capital, Manila.

The lunchtime blast shattered windows and sent debris crashing onto cars at the Glorietta shopping complex.

More than 100 people were hurt in the explosion, in the city's Makati business district.

Police initially believed the cause was an exploding gas cylinder, but experts and officials later said it was almost certainly a bomb attack.

President Gloria Arroyo said the city's emergency services were on high alert, and 2,000 extra personnel had been drafted in "to prevent a similar occurrence".

"We assure everyone that a full-blown investigation is now under way," she said on local TV.

Bomb theory

The blast caused extensive damage to the shopping centre. Concrete blocks and planks fell from the roof and cars outside the mall were covered with debris.

Officials assess the damage outside the shopping centre
Philippine police are investigating the cause of the blast

"It left a deep crater at the foot of the escalator," said Charlie Nepomuceno, an employee at the Glorietta complex.

"It also ripped open the roof of the building. I saw a man thrown on to the roof who had lost a leg," he told Reuters.

National police chief Avelino Razon said he believed a bomb had caused the explosion.

"Beyond that we can't say anything else yet because we are still investigating," he told AFP news agency.

Militants have targeted the Philippine capital in the past.

In 2004, more than 100 people died when Islamic militants from the Abu Sayyaf group - who are battling the military in the south of the country - blew up a passenger ferry in the capital.

And in February 2005, four people died in a bomb attack on a Manila bus.

Aftermath of the blast

Country profile: The Philippines
11 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Guide to the Philippines conflict
10 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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