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Two Rifle Grenades Fired at U.S. Housing Compound

December 15, 1989

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Assailants Thursday fired two rifle grenades into an American housing and recreation compound, causing no injuries and only minor damage, U.S. officials said.

The attack came a week after a bloody coup attempt that left at least 113 people dead was thwarted with help of U.S. war jets.

Later, a grenade exploded at the house of an unidentified American diplomat in Manila’s Makati financial district, the U.S. Embassy said. One Filipino workman who was repairing the roof was slightly injured.

The army said more security patrols had been set up near the seaside compound and the U.S. Embassy, 2 1/2 miles to the north.

Embassy spokesman David Andriessen said the device that exploded at the house could have been fired last week during coup-associated fighting, not intentionally planted.

The U.S. Embassy denounced Thursday’s attack on the Seafront compound as a ″cowardly act″ by ″terrorists″ who could have killed some of the hundreds of Americans who live and work in the compound, which includes the American Club, sports field, commissary and housing for government employees.

Police said four cars were damaged when the grenades exploded near the U.S. military post office and near an apartment complex for U.S. families.

President Corazon Aquino telephoned U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Platt to assure him that Philippine authorities would take all measures to protect Americans.

There was no claim of responsibility, but Brig. Gen. Alexander Aguirre, chief of the police Capital Command, said the attackers could have been rebel soldiers who launched a coup attempt against Mrs. Aquino on Dec. 1.

The incident followed threats against U.S. interests by rebel soldiers after U.S. F-4 Phantom jets flew air cover for government forces during the coup attempt, which ended Saturday.

Police said five armed men were seen abandoning a van near the compound soon after the attack. Inside the van, police found a plastic container for a rifle grenade with serial numbers identical to those on a grenade fragment recovered on the compound.

The owner of the van, Armando Pantaleon, told troops that three men with .45-caliber pistols had taken his van at gunpoint about an hour before the attack.

″The terrorists involved clearly did not care if they harmed innocent civilians, including women, children and men,″ Platt said in a statement.

Americans were warned to stay away from the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. facilities ″in the immediate future.″ The U.S. military banned non-essential travel to Manila by the 40,000 U.S. troops, military dependents and civilian employees at the six U.S. military bases north and west of the capital.

Authorities say about half the estimated 3,000 troops who took part are still at large.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos said remnants of the rebel force still retain the capability to launch ″terrorist attacks, sabotage and assassination.″

Two people were killed and 18 injured when an assailant threw a grenade Saturday into Manila’s main post office.

In other developments, the government’s intelligence chief told the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee on Thursday that rebels were planning another move against the government to be launched in the central Visayas islands and on Mindanao island.

Rodolfo Canieso, chief of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, said 60 percent of the 160,000-member armed forces would accept whatever government emerged victorious in a future coup.

Canieso, a retired major general and former army commander, warned that the entire Philippine society was ″in a state of flux.″

A joint legislative committee late Thursday approved a compromise bill granting Mrs. Aquino emergency powers for six months. The committee will refer the new bill to the Senate and House of Representatives on Monday. Both chambers had approved differing versions of the emergency bill.

Mrs. Aquino declared an indefinite state of emergency Dec. 6 and this week asked Congress to grant specific powers under the declaration.

Update hourly