Suspects in planting of improvised bomb near US Embassy arrested

MANILA — Two suspects behind the planting of an improvised explosive device along Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy were arrested Thursday.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa presented the suspects before mediamen at the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. They were identified as Rayson Kilala Sakdal alias “Rashid” and Jiaher Guinar, members of Ansar Khalifa (AKP).

In two separate operations Wednesday, police arrested Guinar, 30, around 2:35 a.m. in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City and recovered a caliber .45 pistol and a fragmentation grenade from his possession. Sakdal was arrested around 9:30 a.m. in Barangay Bagong Bayan, Bulacan, Bulacan.

Dela Rosa said the two admitted to planting the IED to seek the recognition and monetary support of the Islamic State (IS).

He added that Luneta Park was the initial target of the group but instead transferred the IED near the US Embassy.

Authorities are now hunting down the three other members of the Ansar Khalifa who were with the two suspects in the attempted bombing.

The IED was recovered by authorities inside a trash bin on Monday. It is made of 81 MM mortar and similar to the one used in the bombing of a night market in Davao City last Sept. 2 that claimed the lives 15 persons and injured 70 others.

The suspects are facing charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism.