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Roadside bomb wounds 4 Philippine marines

/ Source: The Associated Press

Suspected Muslim militants detonated a roadside bomb as a truckload of Philippine marines passed by in the south of the country, wounding four troops, the military said Tuesday.

In the latest attack blamed on al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels, marine commandant Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said the truck was driving through a village in Patikul town on Jolo island Monday when the bomb went off in a pile of garbage.

Dolorfino said four marines were wounded. He said troops recovered a 50 yard (meter) long electrical wire from the blast site, suggesting the attackers were laying in wait as the vehicle drove by.

Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, notorious for kidnappings, beheading hostages and bombings, have been active in and around Patikul despite U.S.-backed Philippine offensives to dislodge them.

Last week, U.S. troops in a Philippine military convoy came under fire from suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels also on Jolo island, and police said one militant was killed.

Several dozen U.S. troops are stationed on Jolo to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians as well as counterterrorism support to Filipino forces battling the insurgents.

There were concerns militants may be plotting attacks in Manila as well. Last week, Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor said a father and son were arrested in a Manila suburb allegedly in possession of a homemade bomb, a pistol, ammunition and a grenade.