CNN BREAKING NEWS
Bomb Blast in Philippines Kills at Least One U.S. Soldier
Aired October 2, 2002 - 10:04 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We have got some news coming in right now from the Pentagon.
Let's check in with our Barbara Starr who is at her post there this morning -- Barbara, what are you hearing?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Leon, hello. Pentagon officials are telling CNN that there has been a bomb blast in the Philippines, one U.S. soldier is killed, several others, including U.S. personnel, may be injured.
Now, we want to emphasize, these are very, very initial voice reports coming into the Pentagon from the Philippines. The story is almost certainly likely to change as more facts unfold.
But what we are hearing is that there has been a bomb blast near a base in the Philippines where U.S. Army and other personnel have been stationed. This is in Zamboanga in the Philippines. This is a base where U.S. personnel have been for some time. They have been continuing to conduct humanitarian missions across the Philippines.
You'll remember, of course, a large number of U.S. personnel had deployed to Zamboanga in the Philippines, part of the effort to train the Philippine military in counterterrorist and counterinsurgency, to go after al Qaeda elements in their own country.
We have no understanding, no knowledge at the moment of whether this bomb blast might have been tied to any of that activity. Now, the wire services are reporting the blast has occurred at a bar just outside the gate of the base, a bar that is frequented by U.S. personnel. The Pentagon says they can't confirm that detail, that it occurred at a bar at the moment, but again they tell us that there has been a bomb blast in the Philippines. They do believe one U.S. soldier killed, one injured, and many other people possibly injured as well -- Leon.
HARRIS: Very interesting. Well, Barbara, if they are not confirming whether or not this did happen at a bar, did you get any indication that they are at least instructing troops there to take some special precautions and not go to any other areas where U.S. troops may have been frequenting in the past or what?
STARR: Well, almost certainly, when an incident like this occurs, usually until they figure out what exactly has happened, troops would certainly be at their base, they would be in a more protective posture, usually more security measures, that type of thing. If they can find that it was tied to some sort of anti-U.S. sentiment specifically, that may change the picture, significantly more protection for the U.S. forces that do remain in the Philippines.
HARRIS: Well, have there been any signs of any increasing anti- Americanism there? As a matter of fact, and refresh my memory if I am incorrect here, that Zamboanga site, isn't that where the U.S. troops have gone in to train Philippine troops who are going after the Abu Sayyaf?
STARR: Right. Now, that mission has pretty much wrapped up for the moment. The U.S. and the Philippines have been holding on and off discussions about trying to extend that part of the mission. But some U.S. troops have stayed on. They are continuing to do things like road building in rural areas, providing medical assistance. So, there has been a continuing U.S. presence, not the type of training that was going on a few months back, though.
HARRIS: Understood, understood. Thanks, Barbara. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
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