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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

 

Rizal Day bombing still haunts Metro cops

By Anthony Vargas, Reporter

THE horror brought by the bombing of a packed commuter trains in Manila on December 30, 2000, by a group of renegade Islamic extremist continues to haunt the police.

Some 20 people died and scores were seriously injured in the attacks blamed on the Jemaah Islamiah, a pan-regional group linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.

Metro Manila Police chief, Director Reynaldo Varilla, on Saturday admitted that they have yet to get over the stigma brought by one of the deadliest terror attacks in the country’s capital.

“That’s why our security preparations is not only against criminality but also toward terrorism and communist [rebels],” Varilla said in a briefing at the Quezon City Police station 10 in Kamuning, near the former headquarters of the extremist Rajah Sulaiman Movement.

The police official chief said that they have already intensified police presence in public areas to ensure a peaceful holiday season for Metro Manila.

“So far we have not received any information of [possible] terror attacks. Rest assured that the police is doing its best to ensure a peaceful holiday,” Varilla added.

But sources from the intelligence community told The Manila Times they received information as early as two months ago on extremists’ plans to carry out bombing attacks before the year-end.

Australia has issued a travel alert against visits to some areas in Mindanao, including Davao City and the Zamboanga Peninsula, but no warning has yet focused on the national capital region.

“There are reports of such planned of attacks . . . and the remnants of the group that staged the Rizal Day bombing are still capable of doing this,” said by a senior intelligence source who requested anonymity because he was discussing confidential reports.

   
 

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Ping Oco, Franklin Bartolay
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