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Police have arrested the fourth member of the terror group behind the foiled bombing attempt near the United States Embassy in Manila last month.
A second improvised explosive device (IED), more powerful than the one placed inside a trash bin along Roxas Boulevard, was confiscated in Zambales following the latest arrest, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
The identity of the fourth bomb suspect was not announced pending the arrest of other suspected terrorists.
“We cannot yet divulge information on this because there are still on-going operations. We are still running after their companions,” said Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa said that while there are five suspects in the foiled Manila bomb attempt, the group is connected with other terror cells which are now the subject of follow-up intelligence-gathering and operation.
In fact, the PNP chief said the recovered IED was kept in Zambales until a final instruction from the boss of the terror suspects.
The unnamed suspect and the one still at large were reportedly the ones who brought the two IEDs to Manila from Mindanao.
While the first IED used mortar, the second IED was made from howitzer projectile.
“It can kill around 300 people once detonated in a packed area. Its casualty area is 70 to 80 meter radius,” said Dela Rosa during a press briefing yesterday at Camp Crame.
It is possible, according to Dela Rosa, that the mortar and howitzer projectile used to make the IEDs were those that did not explode during military bomb sorties in Mindanao against terror groups.
The arrest of the fourth suspect came a day after the third one, Mohammad Jumao-as, was presented to the media after his arrest in Bulacan on Saturday.
Jumao-as and the two other earlier arrested suspects, Jiaher Guinar and Rashid Kilala, were tagged as those who conducted a casing of the Luneta area before the IED was left on Nov. 28. It did not explode despite repeated attempt to detonate it through cellular phone call.
Director Oscar Albayalde, head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said they are exerting all their efforts to deny any terror groups the opportunity to strike.
“That is why we remain on full alert status, we are also intensifying our intelligence operations,” said Albayalde.