Bomb Injures Soldiers Near Philippine Airport

Suspected Al Qaeda-linked militants planted a bomb that exploded near an airport and an air force base Sunday in the southern Philippines, wounding two soldiers, officials said.

Abu Sayyaf extremists most likely planted the bomb that exploded late Sunday on a narrow road in Jolo township, wounding the two troops who were riding a scooter to a mosque, regional military chief Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said.

The soldiers were taken to a hospital for treatment to shrapnel wounds. There were no reports of damage to either the airport or the air force base on Jolo, a predominantly Muslim island where American troops have been deployed to provide training to local forces battling the militants.

The Abu Sayyaf, which has more than 300 fighters, is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations because bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings of hostages have rattled the southern Philippines for decades. The group is suspected of receiving funds and training from Al Qaeda.

It has been blamed for several bombings, including a motorcycle bomb blast that killed two people and wounded 31 last month on Jolo, about 590 miles (950 kilometers) south of Manila.