Two dead, 19 wounded in Philippine blast

Two people were killed and 19 others injured after an unidentified man tossed an explosive device into a crowded tourist area in a southern Philippine city late on Saturday, police said.

After the explosion in Iligan, the man boarded a van that sped away, city police chief Celso Regencia said, citing witnesses.

"The apparent target was El Centro," he told AFP, referring to an area in the port city popular for its restaurants, bars and night clubs.

The motive of the attack and the type of explosive used was not immediately clear, Regencia added.

He said police recovered the body of a 20-year-old male victim at the site, while his 20-year-old cousin was later pronounced dead at a government hospital.

Three city hospitals contacted by AFP said they were treating 19 others wounded in the attack.

Iligan lies on the north coast of Mindanao island. The region has been mired in a decades-old Muslim insurgency as well as bombings and kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf, a group founded with seed money from late Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

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