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Two killed in restaurant explosion

Police say a powerful explosion at a restaurant has killed two people and wounded more than a dozen others in a restive province in the southern Philippines.

Officers gave conflicting accounts of what may have caused the explosion, which also sparked a fire in a restaurant in Basilan province's capital of Isabela city.

Police Senior Superintendent Alexis Lineses said a cooking gas cylinder exploded and killed two civilians and more than a dozen others, including a policeman.

Regional police official Felicisimo Khu, however, said that the blast was caused by a home-made bomb.

Security officials have been on alert in predominantly Muslim Basilan following a series of bombings and kidnappings blamed on the Abu Sayyaf extremist group.

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