Police in the Philippines detonated a bomb that was discovered near the U.S. Embassy in the capital Manila on Monday.
Ronald dela Rosa, the national police chief, told reporters the incident was “an attempted act of terrorism.”
Police said the improvised bomb, made from an 81-mm mortar round, a cellphone, a blasting cap and a small battery, could have been powerful enough to kill people within 110 yards, the Associated Press reported.
Dela Rosa said the device, which was placed in a trash bin about 22 yards from the embassy compound by a person in a taxi, was the same type of explosive as one that killed 15 people at the Davao market on the southern island of Mindanao in September.
Several members of the Islamic State-linked Maute group were arrested over the Davao blast. The terror group is suspected in Monday’s incident.
“After analysis, we can link it to the Maute because of what happened in Davao, the same (bomb) signature,” dela Rosa said.
He said the Maute militants may have wanted to create a diversion because the group has suffered heavy casualties in clashes with government security forces in the south of the country, the AP reported.
Molly Koscina, the press attaché for the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, told CNN that a municipal employee discovered the bomb.
"(He) reported the discovery of a device to U.S. Embassy guards, who immediately contacted the police. We are thankful that the municipal employee and the (police) took quick and appropriate action to ensure the safety of all,” she said, according to the broadcaster.