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One dead in Philippines bomb blast

Al Qaida-linked militants are among the suspects in a powerful bomb blast that killed one person and wounded 12 others in the southern Philippines.

The bomb, made of four 81mm mortar rounds and detonated by mobile phone, went off on a parked motorcycle in front of a gun store in Cotabato city.

A security guard on his way to work was killed while shrapnel and glass splinters from shattered window panes wounded 12 others, including a seven-year-old girl.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack but army ordnance experts reported that the bomb design closely resembled those used by suspected Muslim militants belonging to the south-east Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah in at least three recent attacks, said regional army spokesman Col. Prudencio Asto.

Police also have no suspects but are looking into reports that the owner of the gun store was involved in a land dispute.

Cotabato city administrator Cynthia Guiani Sayadi described the bombing as "barbaric and un-Islamic" and noted it occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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