Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 09:42 UK

Three killed in Philippines blast


Three people have been killed and at least 17 others injured in a blast at an air force base in the southern Philippines.

The explosion happened around 1000 (0200 GMT) just outside the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City.

Police said a bomb went off as civilians waited to board a military transport plane.

Zamboanga is close to the islands of Jolo and Basilan, where troops are fighting Islamist rebels.

Most of the victims of the blast were relatives of forces personnel who are entitled to travel on military transport.

They were reportedly preparing to board a C-130 flight to the capital, Manila, when the device went off.

Police believe the bomb, hidden in a bag, was triggered by a mobile phone.

"I felt the ground shake, then I heard people shouting and crying and everybody seemed to be running around," witness Wella Quintinio told Reuters news agency.

Police said militant group Abu Sayyaf could be behind the blast.

They blamed two small bombs that exploded last month in the city on the group, which is the smallest but most radical of the Islamic separatist groups in the southern Philippines.

Abu Sayyaf gained notoriety for a string of kidnappings of Westerners and Filipinos but has also claimed responsibility for several bombings.

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