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Philippine police arrest suspected militants

world Updated: Nov 22, 2008 12:29 IST

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A Philippine anti-terrorism unit has arrested two suspected members of an Al Qaeda-linked group who were allegedly planning to set off bombs in the capital, the government said on Saturday.

Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor said police and soldiers from the National Counter-Terrorism Action Group arrested Sala Kasan Bairulla and his son, Albasher Bairulla, during a raid Friday on their safe house in suburban Taguig city, south of Manila. Blancaflor, who is also spokesman for the Anti-Terrorism Council, said in a statement that raiders recovered a homemade bomb, a pistol, ammunition and a grenade from the two alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant group. He did not provide details on the planned bombing targets.

He said the men will be charged with illegal possession of explosives and weapons.

On Tuesday government forces arrested another suspected Abu Sayyaf militant for his alleged involvement in a failed bomb plot at the airport on Jolo island in the southern Philippines. The Abu Sayyaf, which has been linked to kidnappings, bombing and beheadings, is on the US list of terrorist groups. The group has been crippled by US-backed military offensives but remains a threat, especially in the Philippines' volatile south, where it is based.

Philippine law prohibits foreign troops to engage in combat, but under a security agreement reached in 1998, US troops have provided counterterrorism training, weapons and equipment to Philippine forces fighting the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamist militants.