Incident Summary:

03/04/2003: A rebel exploded a bomb, killing himself, 20 others, and injuring more than 150, in a waiting lounge near the main terminal of the Davao International Airport in Davao, Philippines. An American missionary from Iowa was among those killed; another American missionary and her two children were injured. A leader of the Al-Qaida linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Philippines government rejected the claim, instead blaming the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).




Southeast Asia

region/u.s. state:

Davao del Sur

Davao City

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Airports and Aircraft
Name of Entity Davao International Airport
Specific Description Civilians in Davao International Airport
Nationality of Target Multinational
Additional Information
Hostages No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives/Bombs/Dynamite Suicide (carried bodily by human being)
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The attack came before a planned deployment of U.S. anti-terror troops to the region. The Philippines government detained nine suspects for questioning, five of whom were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The MILF denied responsibility. Investigators were also trying to link the bombing to sympathetic members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), as suspected MILF members may have used the services of a known JI operative in preparing and detonating the bomb. In June 2005, authorities arrested four rebels, including Ustadz Norodin Mangelen, who they accuse of perpetrating this attack, as well as another in General Santos City in December 2004. Mangelen told authorities that he acted as a local liaison for the JI.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Unknown)
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) (suspected) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 24 Fatalities / 150 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 24
Number of U.S. Fatalities 1
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 1
Total Number of Injured 150
Number of U.S. Injured 3
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Jim Gomez, “Philippines Ruling Out U.S. Combat Role,” Associated Press, March 5, 2003.
“MILF Bomber Behind Davao Blast: Philippines Officials,” Agence France Presse, March 6, 2003.
“Doubt over Abu Sayyaf Bomb Claim – Countdown to War,” The Australian, March 6, 2003.