The Philippines has been placed on “terror alert level 3” after a foiled bombing near the U.S. embassy in Manila, national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa said on Thursday.

During a press briefing, Dela Rosa said the terror alert level meant that police would create strong checkpoints and conduct raids on lairs of suspected terror groups.

Two suspects have been arrested in the case, one in Manila and the other in the nearby province of Bulacan.

They are thought to be part of the Maute terrorist group, based in the south of the country.

“The foiled bomb attack was an attempt to convince the Islamic State extremist group that Maute group should become its local affiliate’’, Dela Rosa said.

The Maute group, once described by the military as a small-time extortion gang, has emerged as an armed Islamist group that has some former Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerillas as members.

The suspects told police that the initial target of the bombing Whad bin Rizal Park was to have a higher number of casualties.

Dela Rosa said police were currently searching for three people who brought the bomb from Mindanao, the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines to Manila.