Deadly blast hits hotel in south Philippines

Three people killed in powerful explosion in hotel packed with wedding guests in central Zamboanga city.

    Sunday's hotel blast killed at least three and wounded 27, many of whom were there for a wedding [Reuters]

    A powerful blast has killed at least three people and wounded 27 others in a budget hotel packed with wedding guests in the southern Philippines, officials said.

    The bomb blast ignited a fire that gutted the two-story Atilano Pension House in downtown Zamboanga city late on Sunday.

    The explosion, originating in one of the hotel's 35 rooms, was so powerful it caused much of the second floor to collapse, blew off the hotel roof and shattered glass panes and windows from nearby buildings, said Celso Lobregat, mayor of Zamboanga city.

    The blast occurred on the second floor of the hotel, instantly killing two people staying in two adjacent rooms, which were devastated by the blast. A third body was found dead on Monday on the ground floor, pinned by the cement slabs that collapsed from above.

    The blast was believed to be one of two simultaneous bombings planned by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaff. The other would have been on nearby Basilan island, where two explosives were separately found and safely defused by authorities in Isabela city on Sunday, city police director Edwin de Ocampo said.

    Zamboanga, a bustling city where US counter-terrorism troops are based, has been hit by deadly bombings blamed on Abu Sayyaf in the past.

    In late-October, a bomb killed two people in a roadside eatery in Zamboanga.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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