DND: Moroccan national may be behind Basilan blast

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 10) —The Department of National Defense is inclined to believe a Moroccan national may have carried out the July 31 blast in Lamitan City, Basilan.

A tweet posted by user TerrorMonitor showed a photo of a certain Abu Kathir al-Maghribi, whose face reportedly matches that of eyewitness' accounts of the terrorist behind the attack. The photo was published by ISIS just 24 hours after the explosion.

"We'll did he die, we don't know. Maybe he is that guy," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. "Meron pang agam-agam kung siya talaga 'yun e. Pero sa akin mukhang qualifications point that he is the guy.'

[Translation: There are still doubts as to whether he is behind the attack. But for me, qualifications point to him.]

Al-Maghribi first joined the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. Intelligence reports say he moved to Basilan to avenge the death of his child who was killed in an encounter with the military.

The bomb, intel reports added, targetted school children in Lamitan. But Al-Maghribi blew it up at the military checkpoint, which killed 11.

"Wala na siyang magawa e, mahuhuli na sya e. So sabi niya, suicide na lang siya, but he would not, he was not, that was not the intention," Lorenzana said.

[Translation: There's nothing he could do, he will be caught. So he thought, he will kill himself, but he would not, he was not, that was not the intention.]

The attacks in Mindanao, including an attempt to bomb North Cotabato from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, come after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

"There are spoilers and bombing siguro [maybe] could be part of this spoiling," Lorenzana claimed.

The plebiscite determining the scope of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao could be held by January next year, the Commission on Elections said.