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Philippines bomb death toll climbs to 8

A bomb killed four people and wounded 29 when it tore through a billiard hall in the southern Philippines on Tuesday in an attack military officials blamed on an al-Qaida-linked Islamist group.
/ Source: Reuters

The death toll from a bomb explosion in a billiard hall in the southern Philippines has climbed to eight, police and military officials said on Wednesday.

At least four people were killed on the spot and 29 wounded in Tuesday’s attack in Tacurong City, about 950 km (600 miles) south of Manila, on the island of Mindanao. Four of the wounded died overnight, the officials said.

Military officials have blamed the attack on Jemaah Islamiah (JI), an al Qaeda-linked Islamist group.

“We have strong suspicions the JI carried out the attack to remind us they’re still very much around,” Major-General Raymundo Ferrer, army commander in Cotabato on Mindanao, told reporters. “The target was obviously innocent people.”

Officials have ruled out any link with politics.

The Philippines goes to the polls on May 14 to elect the 275-seat House of Representatives, half the 24-member Senate and thousands of local government posts. Nearly 100 people have been killed in election-related violence since mid-January.