Third suspect in US Embassy bomb scare arrested
A third suspect in the planting of an improvised bomb near the United States Embassy in Manila has been arrested, police sources said Sunday.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of clearance to speak to the media, identified the suspect as Mohammad Jumao-as, who was arrested around Saturday noon.
The third suspect was the accomplice of Rashid Kilala and Jiaher Guinar, who were arrested last Nov. 30, according to the sources.
The Philippine National Police public information office has yet to confirm the report of Jumao-as’ arrest.
PNP chief Director-General Ronald dela Rosa announced the arrest of the first two suspects on Dec. 1, citing ongoing operations.
Dela Rosa earlier said Kilala and Guinar were part of a terror cell of the jihadist Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines, which is allied with another terror organization, the Maute Group based in Lanao del Sur.
The PNP chief said a total of five suspects were part of the bombing plot. They allegedly brought to Metro Manila an improvised explosive device (IED) made from a mortar shell.
Kilala and Guinar allegedly first planted the IED at Rizal Park in the early morning of Nov. 28. When the IED did not explode, they retrieved it and dropped it in a garbage bin along Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy.
The IED, attached to a cellphone detonator, apparently failed to go off again and it was found by a street sweeper, who called the police.
Using a description of Guinar provided by a witness, the police conducted operations that resulted in the arrest of Guinar in Caloocan City and of Kilala in Bulacan.
Dela Rosa said the information that reached PNP indicated that the other suspects have left for Lanao to support the Maute Group, whose stronghold in Butig town was being attacked by the military.
The PNP chief said both the Maute and Ansar Al-Khilafa groups have been trying to get recognition and financial support from the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East. JE/rga
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