Philippine Army Finds Easter Bombs

The Philippine Army announced that it had found eight sacks of bombs they believe would have been used by Muslim extremists in Manila during this week’s Easter festivities.

Easter is a prime holiday in the Philippines, a largely Roman Catholic nation. Christians comprise about 90 percent of the population.

The nation is on high alert this Easter season. Around 15,000 policemen are patrolling malls, churches and other possible targets in Manila, according to the UK Foreign Office.

“The explosives belonged to the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group0 and were intended for the Lenten season bombing,” said army spokesman Buenaventura Pascual.

The bombs were found by intelligence agents in the Quezon City district of Manila, according to Pascual in a Reuters report.

In mid-February, Abu Sayyaf, a small Muslim rebel group linked to al Qaeda initiated three deadly attacks in shopping malls and and transport terminals. It also bombed a ferry in early 2004.

Abu Sayyaf had vowed revenge after its members were killed in a jail uprising this month. The previous attacks came after the army launched an offensive against the group in the southwestern Island of Jolo.

On Tuesday, the military had paraded a man suspected of helping Abu Sayyaf members carry out an attack in Manila’s business district.

The United States and United Kingdom have issued travel warnings for the Philippines following the attacks. The U.S. advisory said terrorist groups,including Abu Sayyaf, are "planning multiple attacks throughout the Philippines."