MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police found bomb parts in a budget hotel in Manila's tourist district on Tuesday, prompting tighter security in public places and more intense street patrols.
Police said a janitor found more than 100 rifle and shotgun shells that had been mostly emptied of their gunpowder, along with two metal pipes, blasting caps and cellphone parts in a room at a Manila inn where a man stayed overnight before checking out at dawn on Tuesday. The man left with a backpack and a bag.
Police Inspector Arnold Santos of the Manila police Explosives and Ordnance Division said it was possible the man may have already assembled a bomb, prompting authorities to take security precautions.
Metropolitan Manila police Chief Alan Purisima said he ordered police to intensify street patrols and tighten security in shopping malls and other public areas. An investigation was under way to identify and locate the man and determine whether he had in fact assembled a bomb. Police prepared a sketch of the man based on the description of hotel employees.
Although al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants have carried out deadly bomb attacks in the Philippine capital in the past, Purisima said it was too early to conclude whether the discovery of the bomb parts meant a terrorist attack was imminent. He said police have not monitored any recent threat in Manila from any terrorist group.