Australia Warns on Terror Attacks in the Philippines

Article excerpt

MANILA (AP) Australias Foreign Ministry warned its citizens Saturday that terrorists may strike anytime, anywhere in the Philippines and not to travel to the countrys troubled south.

In a travel advisory the ministry said it continues to receive reports indicating terrorists may be in the "final stages" of planning an attack in the Philippines.

"Australians in the Philippines are advised to exercise extreme caution. Possible terrorist targets include areas known to be frequented by foreigners, including coastal resorts," it said.

"Attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines."

Australians should defer travel to Zamboanga peninsula on the southern island of Mindanao and to Basilan, Jolo and Tawi Tawi, the southernmost islands of the Philippines all operational areas of the al-Qaida-linked regional Muslim extremist group, Abu Sayyaf, the ministry said.

The group has been blamed for numerous kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, including an attack on a ferry in Manila Bay last year that killed at least 116 people.

Although the Philippine government is committed to improving security in the country and has arrested a number of terror suspects, "the risk of further terrorist attacks and kidnappings remains," the ministry said. …