West warns of Philippine attacks

2010-11-03 08:38
Manila - The United States, Britain and Australia have warned of a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in the Philippines, with Australia saying there were reliable reports that attacks may be imminent in the capital, Manila.

The Philippine government did not see an immediate threat but the advisories were being taken seriously, said Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

The three travel advisories were dated November 2 and said possible targets could included places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, such as airports and shopping malls, and advised citizens to exercise a high degree of caution.

"Terrorist attacks, including bombings, are possible anytime, anywhere in the Philippines, including in Manila," the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said in its notice.

"We continue to receive credible reports indicating terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners ... Reliable reports indicate that terrorist attacks may be imminent in Manila."

The British and US authorities said terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and could happen in Manila.

But the Philippine military said it did not have any similar information.

"There is no imminent threat, there is no information which says there is an impending attack. And we certainly would like to allay fears of all of these possibilities," military spokesperson Brigadier General Jose Mabanta said in a television interview.

Recommendations were maintained to avoid travel to Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the southern Philippines because of risks from an insurgency and Islamic militants in the area.

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