HILONGOS, Philippines, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Dozens of people watching a boxing match were injured when two bombs went off at a downtown plaza in a small town in the Philippines late Wednesday.
Two explosions, the second weaker than the first, rocked the town of Hilongos in Philippines as around 500 people gathered at Rizal Plaza to watch a boxing match, injuring at least 35.
There has not been a claim of credit for the bombing, but officials in the town say they have recently cracked down on drugs, auto theft and counterfeiting operations, suggesting the bombs may be linked to the law enforcement efforts.
"We didn't expect this," said Hilongos Mayor Alberto Villahermosa. "There was no bomb threat prior to this incident. We were caught by surprise when this happened since we are a peace loving town."
A bomb went off around 9:15 p.m. as people gathered to watch the match, with a second explosion going off minutes later. Most of the injured were hit below the knees, and all were taken to hospitals in neighboring towns for treatment.
Police said the second bomb appeared to be constructed poorly and, as a result, did not realize it's explosive potential. Had the bomb been wired properly, the explosion of both bombs -- improvised explosive devices constructed using 81-mm mortar shells -- simultaneously at full strength may have been enough to kill people and injure far more, according to police provincial director Supt. Franco Simborio.