Bomb at Catholic mass in Philippines kills 4, ISIS responsible

Bomb at Catholic mass in Philippines kills 4, ISIS responsible

ISIS on Sunday claimed responsibility for a bombing at a Catholic mass in the Philippines that killed at least four people.

The explosion ripped through a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in Marawi as worshippers gathered. In addition to the four people killed, 50 were wounded and taken to local hospitals.

Philippine investigators almost immediately blamed foreign attackers for the bombing, even before ISIS claimed it was behind the killings.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists upon the Mindanao State University,” President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said in a statement. “Extremists who wield violence against the innocent will always be regarded as enemies to our society.”

ISIS claims responsibility for bombing that killed at least 4 at Catholic mass in Philippines

AP Photo

People wounded in the attack are treated Sunday at a nearby hospital.

Marawi, located on a southern island about 500 miles south of Manila, is a majority-Muslim city in a country that is largely Roman Catholic. In 2017, Islamic State fighters partnered with local militants and took over a portion of the city, including Mindanao State University. It took the Philippine government five months to recapture the city.

Islamic extremist groups in the southern Philippines have maintained ties with ISIS in the six years since the Battle of Marawi. On Friday, the Philippine military killed 11 suspected Islamic militants near the town of Datu Hoffer.

Sunday morning’s bombing “could be a retaliatory attack,” military chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said. According to regional police director Allan Nobleza, the 11 dead suspects were part of Dawlah Islamiyah, a regional Islamist group that has aligned with ISIS.

The blast came from a 60mm mortar round, fragments of which were found at the scene, police Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta told reporters. Islamic militants in the southern Philippines have used similar munitions in past bombings.

Security forces across the nation went on high alert Sunday following the bombing, including in the capital of Manila and the densely populated surrounding area.

“Amid this barbaric act, best public service must prevail,” coast guard chief Admiral Ronnie Gavan said.

With News Wire Services

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