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Bomb Rocks Glorietta 2 in Makati, Possible Terrorist Attack

In the midst of the midday fanfare at the mall where people are busy eating food and taking siesta a large explosion rocked Glorietta 2 in Makati causing the cascading of the center of the mall's roof at the activity center. At least 50 people where injured while there were 8 fatalities so far. The first notion was that an LPG caused the blast but this was immediately discounted by investigators since they agree that the kind of explosion absed on their initial assessments and based on the account of survivors was extraordinary and not similar to an LPG explosion.

This came a day after there was a bombing also occured in Pakistan which is targeting Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The mall in Makati was immediately evacuated after the initial blast while entire Manila Police and security forces were placed in full alert.

View related video and report from GMA News after the jump.

At least eight people were killed while at least 70 others were injured after an explosion of still undetermined origin rocked a Makati City shopping mall at about 1:30 p.m. Friday.

The police on site had earlier traced the blast to an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) tank but Director Gen. Avelino Razon Jr, PNP chief, said that an assessment by ground commanders showed that what exploded could be "a bomb."

"Sa assessment ng ground commander hindi LPG. Hindi pa natin masabi – it could be a bomb, pero wala pa kaming ebidensiya," Razon said.

Police Director Geary Barias chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said initial information showed that the explosion emanated from the Luk Yuen Noodle House at the first level of the Glorietta 2 shopping mall.

He said it was apparently an "accidental explosion" of a liquefied petroleum gas tank but added that "we are still verifying it."

Barias said the PNP Bomb Data Center has sent a team to the site to inspect the area. Asked if the incident was connected to any terrorist activity Barias said: "Di pa malaman ang koneksyon nito pero initial info namin is LPG blast (We still don't know if it's connected but our initial information is it's an LPG blast)."

However, dzBB radio quoted shopping mall security guards as saying that the blast actually emanated from a nearby delivery area.

The bridge way which connects Glorietta 2 to the Park Square shopping mall sustained heavy damage, the report said.

The Luk Yuen restaurant which is situated near the Park Square bus and jeepney terminal was hit by fire in September last year.

Metro Manila police spokesman Supt. Rodel Sermonia said three fatalities were "killed on the spot."

Fatalities, injuries

The Makati Medical Center (MMC) has admitted as many as 42 people who were rushed from the Glorietta 2 shopping mall which was hit by the explosion.

A nurse interviewed by dzBB radio said no less than 30 people were in the hospital but could not comment on the extent of their injuries. A separate report said about 25 people were rushed to the Ospital ng Makati.

Alfie Reyes, corporate spokesman of mall owner Ayala Land, said "roughly about a dozen people were injured with the possibility of some fatalities."

He added: "We will extend assistance to all of the victims and if any of their families wish to reach out to us we will do so (and help them)."

Reyes added the mall area has been "evacuated" and that all of the victims have been taken out of the area.

Chaos, fear

The explosion created a thick cloud of dust near Glorietta 2 and forced the closure of the Glorietta and Park Square 2 malls and Landmark supermarket.

An eyewitness told GMANews.TV that it sounded like a powerful firecracker blast and then a thudding sound was heard like that of a ceiling that had collapsed. Shoppers scampered out of the mall, some of them crying while police agents rushed in.

The explosion was heard near the Glorietta 2 mall from across the Landmark shopping center near Ayala Avenue in the financial district of Makati City. There were unconfirmed reports of injured persons.

A second eyewitness told radio dzBB that he saw smoke coming out of a building. It sounded like the explosion occurred inside or near one of the establishments.

Mike Ochosa an analyst for Solar Sports who was inside the mall at the time said he was going out of the mall toward the parking lot when he heard the explosion.

Ochosa described the explosion as similar to lightning but muffled. He said he saw shoppers some of them panicking run out of the mall.

"I heard something like thunder but muffled inside the building. Then people were running out. There was smoke people running out and police rushing in," he said.

He said the location of the explosion was near a department store at the side of Pasay Road. - GMANews.TV