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CNN BREAKING NEWS

At Least Three Killed in Manila Bus Blast

Aired October 18, 2002 - 11:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: A breaking story from Manila, the Philippines, we understand, a bomb, or some sort of a device exploded on a bus. At least three are dead.
Marga Ortigas, who is our producer, who has been filling us in, who joins once again on the phone.

Marga, what have you been able to learn?

MARGA ORTIGAS, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, that's right. They are now confirmed reports that three people have indeed been killed in this explosion. Police still not calling it a bomb blast. Some government officials have rushed to the site, and we believe that all the injured have been rushed to nearby hospitals, and only the remains of those that died in the explosion remain in the bus site.

We also do know that the explosion began at the back of the bus and spread all the way to the front. The bus is now considered a total wreck. It looks completely devastated from the back of it. And police are working round the clock now to try to establish exactly who might be behind this last attack.

There were two bombs that went off just yesterday in the Southern Philippines. Now, those bomb attacks have been linked to the Muslim Extremist group the Abu Sayyaf, which allegedly has links to Al Qaeda.

HARRIS: Police have not yet made the link here in this case with Abu Sayyaf?

ORTIGAS: No, they haven't yet. They're very careful to make any links to the Abu Sayyaf at the moment. They're treading on kind of thin ice and don't want to say anything until they have actual suspects pinpointed.

HARRIS: Understood. How about where the explosion took place? In a residential area? In a downtown area? Can you give us some information on that?

ORTIGAS: It was in a relatively densely populated area, in the kind of northernmost tip of metro manila. You could expect a lot of people who would be on their way home from a long day at work to have filled this bus. They would have been headed to kind of the more rural or suburban areas just outside of the city.

HARRIS: And finally, Marga, any word on the number of injured? I know you said three dead. How about the injured? ORTIGAS: there is still no confirmed report on the number of injuries. The police expect it to be at least in the near vicinity of 20 to 30 people, possibly more than that. There's still no exact figure. We'll keep you updated, though.

HARRIS: Thank you very much. Marga Ortigas, reporting on a deadly evening in Manila, the Philippines. Thank you very much.

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