Philippine leader visits victims of twin bombings in the south
Iligan City, Philippines (dpa) - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday visited the people injured in two bombings in a southern Philippine city, dpa reported.
Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said Arroyo went to Iligan City in Lanao del Norte province, 855 kilometres south of Manila, and visited the hospital where 41 people wounded in the attacks were being treated.
Arroyo also visited the funeral home where two fatalities from the twin bombings were taken.
Police officials said only two people, not six as earlier reported by city officials, were killed in the bombings of the Jerry Bargain Centre and Unicity Mall.
Investigators said the bombs were left at the baggage counters of the two shopping malls by women wearing veils.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, who are active in the province, denied involvement in the bombings.
Eid Kabalu, MILF civil relations chief, said he talked with rebel commanders operating in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur and all of them said they had nothing to do with the attacks.
"There must be a thorough investigation before blaming groups like us," he said. "We express our sympathies to the families of the victims."
The MILF is the largest Muslim rebel group fighting for a separate Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao.
Hostilities between the military and the rebel group flared in August when the guerrillas launched a series of deadly attacks after a setback in peace talks with the government.