MANILA, Philippines – A major terrorist attack has been averted in the Philippines (search) with the arrests of four Abu Sayyaf (search) members and the confiscation of 80 pounds of TNT, the president said Tuesday.
The explosives were to have been used to bomb trains and shopping malls in Manila, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (search) told a news conference.
"We have prevented a Madrid-level attack in the metropolis," she said, referring to the sprawling capital of more than 10 million people. The March 11 train bombings in Madrid, Spain left at least 190 people dead.
Arroyo said one of the men arrested claimed responsibility for a Feb. 27 explosion and fire aboard a passenger ferry that killed more than 100 people. Officials have not concluded what caused the disaster.