Homemade bomb found near U.S. Embassy in Manila safely defused

A member of the Manila police bomb squad inspects a mortar as part of a suspected improvised explosive device found near the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Monday. Police responded to a report of a suspicious package found in a trash can and defused the device. Photo by Mark R. Cristino/European Press Agency

MANILA, Nov. 28 (UPI) — Specialists safely defused a homemade bomb discovered in a trash can near the U.S. Embassy in Manila, the Philippine National Police confirmed Monday.

A city street sweeper found the improvised explosive device, made from an empty gin bottle, an 81-mm mortar, blasting caps, wiring and a nine-bolt battery, and triggered by a cell phone, about 30 feet from the Embassy’s front gate. Police detonated the bomb without injury after closing off the street.

If the bomb had exploded it would have affected everything within a 330-foot radius, said Oscar Albayalde, National Capitol Region police chief.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the presence of an IED.

“This morning a municipal employee reported the discovery of a device to U.S. embassy guards, who immediately contacted the police,” press attaché Molly Koscina said in a statement. “We are thankful that the municipal employee and the Philippine National Police took quick and appropriate action to ensure the safety of all.”

The device is similar to one that killed at least 14 people in Davao City in September, PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said, an explosion traced to the Maute terrorist group. He said the discovery of the device in Manila could be a diversionary tactic by the group, which is linked to the Islamic State and currently under siege by authorities; 19 militants were killed after they attacked the Mindanao town of Lanao del Sur last week.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte put the country under a state of emergency following the incident in Davao City, and Dela Rosa quickly dispelled rumors Monday that the Manila bomb threat would lead to a declaration of martial law.

“For God’s sake! We will not use — the government will not use an incident that will cause panic, fear, and undue harm, or even death to its own people to declare martial law,” Dela Rosa said.

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