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Three killed in Philippines condominium blast


Three people were killed in the Philippine capital Manila after a powerful explosion in a luxury apartment sent a huge piece of rubble plummeting on to their van, officials said Saturday.

The blast, which occurred on a fifth floor unit of a high-end housing development late Friday, knocked out a part of the building's wall.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who visited the scene of the blast with President Benigno Aquino, said four other people were also injured including one person believed to be a foreigner.

He said it was too early to say what caused the blast in the residential development, known as "the Fort" but he told reporters it would be thoroughly investigated.

"We still don't know what is the cause of the explosion. We don't know if it was a bomb or an accident or some combustion," he said.

"We will look at all angles," he added.

The luxury condominium building was completely evacuated and residents of a neighbouring building were also being asked to move elsewhere, said Roxas who is in charge of the national police.

He said one of the injured was reportedly inside the condominium unit when the explosion took place, adding that investigators would look into the background of the person occupying the unit.

The explosion took place just a few metres away from a popular enclave of restaurants, bars and shops that attract thousands of merry-makers every weekend.

In the past, Philippine civilians have been hit by bomb attacks, often carried out by the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group started in the 1990s with seed money from the al-Qaeda network.

This includes the 2004 bombing of a ferry in Manila that killed over a hundred people in the worst terror attack in the country's history.

However most of the Abu Sayyaf's activities have been concentrated in the southern Philippines where the country's Muslim minority is based.