MANILA -- Two men were hurt after an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded outside an LPG store in Brgy. Kabacan, North Cotabato on Wednesday evening.
The victims were identified as Rico Salve and Gil Pulmero.
Joel Asero, who works in the store, found the IED inside a plastic container.
A bomb squad from the Explosives Ordnance Disposal of the Philippine National Police was about to defuse the IED when it exploded.
The disruptor also went off a few seconds before the bomb, setting the store on fire.
Authorities see the explosion as a possible terrorist attack. They added that they received a bomb threat hours before they found the bomb.
The police believe that the man holding the trigger for the bomb was just within the vicinity.
They think the explosion was timed just as a bomb squad member was approaching the IED.
Based on the initial investigation, an 81 millimeter mortar was used in the explosive, based on the fragments left on the scene.
Last year, a National Power Grid Corporation tower was bombed, and two grenades were recovered in separate incidents in North Cotabato. -- report from Lerio Bompat, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao