ZAMBOANGA, Philippines A powerful bomb tore through a food court Sunday, killing at least six people and injuring 53 others while U.S. military officers were in town to discuss helping the government fight Muslim rebels.
Philippine authorities blamed the Muslim rebel group Abu Sayyaf, which allegedly has links to Osama bin Laden, for the blast in the restive southern city of Zamboanga.
The Americans were unhurt in the early evening attack, officials said. They were staying at a tightly guarded military camp a few miles from the site of the explosion, said Lt. Gen. Roy Cimatu, who heads the Philippine military's Southern Command.
There was no evidence yet the group of more than 20 Americans was targeted, Cimatu said.
The U.S. officers were here for talks on how the United States can help the Philippine government fight the Abu Sayyaf. The United States says the group has ties to bin Laden, the chief suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
The rebels are holding American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham of Wichita, Kan., and 10 Filipinos on Basilan. They claim they killed a third American, Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif. The three Americans were kidnapped from a resort in May.