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Explosion at Philippine House of Representatives Kills 2, Injures Several

A powerful explosion at an entrance to the Philippine House of Representatives has killed at least two people, including a Philippine lawmaker, and injured several others. Douglas Bakshian has more from Manila.

The blast went off shortly after 8 PM local time, just after Congress adjourned. Local television reported the explosion occurred in a car, and pictures showed blown out sections of the ceiling in a parking area at an entrance to Congress.

Police said the blast destroyed four vehicles. Authorities cordoned off the area and searched the building for any other possible explosive devices.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. However, House speaker Jose DeVenecia told ABS-CBN television he suspected terrorism.

"I think this is the work of an anarchist, a terrorist, or an extremist who wants to destabilize the House, and terrorize the House of Representatives, being one of the pillars of the national government. And we will not be frightened," he said.

Explosives and weapons are widely available in the Philippines, which is combating Communist and Muslim insurgencies. There have also been several coup attempts over the last two years that the government blamed in part on rogue military elements.

Tuesday's blast occurred against a backdrop of political tension. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is facing a third impeachment move in as many years, as well as recent corruption scandals and an unforgiving opposition.

Last month an explosion at a shopping mall in Manila killed 11 people, but investigators said they found no evidence of a bomb and said a build up of gases was likely the cause.