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‘Foreign terrorists’ believed responsible for deadly Philippines church bombing, ISIS claims – Magazine Creations

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. says foreign terrorists are responsible for a Sunday bombing during a Catholic service in the country’s south that killed four people and wounded dozens. ,

The bomb exploded during a gymnasium at the Mindanao State University in the southern city of Marawi, officials said.

The military confirmed that the blast killed four people, including three women. At least 50 others were taken to two hospitals for treatment. Six of the wounded were fighting for their lives in a hospital, Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said. of the Islamic province of Lanao del Sur, whose capital is Marawi.

Law enforcement authorities investigate the site of an explosion in Marawi City, southern Philippines, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur – Public Information Office via AP)

“I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless and most heinous acts committed by foreign terrorists at the Mindanao State University,” President Marcos said in a statement. “Extremists who commit violence against the innocent will always be seen as enemies of our society.”

Military troops and police cordoned off the university shortly after the bombing and launched an investigation. Security checkpoints were set up throughout the city. Police and other state forces were put on “high alert” in Metro Manila, security officials said.

Police Major General Emmanuel Peralta told reporters that military and police bomb experts found fragments of a 60mm mortar at the scene of the attack. Such explosives made from mortars had been used in previous attacks by Islamist militants in the south of the country.

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ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, saying on its Telegram channels: “Soldiers of the caliphate detonated an explosive device at a large gathering of Christians…in Marawi City.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Browner Jr. said the bombing could be retaliation by Muslim militants for a series of defeats in combat. It reported the killing of 11 suspected Islamist militants in a military offensive backed by airstrikes and artillery fire on Friday in the southern province of Maguindanao.

Bombing in the Philippines

Law enforcement authorities investigate the site of an explosion in Marawi City, southern Philippines, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur – Public Information Office via AP)

The regional police director Tax. Gen. Allan Nobleza said the slain fighters belonged to an ISIS-linked armed group operating in Lanao del Sur province.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific terrorist attack that occurred today during a Catholic Mass at the University of Mindanao in Marawi, Philippines,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“We mourn those killed in the attack and our thoughts are with those injured. The United States is in close contact with our Philippine partners and stands with the Filipino people in rejecting this act of violence.”

The Philippine coast guard said it ordered all its personnel to step up intelligence gathering, tighter checks on passenger ferries and the deployment of bomb-detecting dogs and marshals.

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The southern Philippines is home to minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation and the scene of decades of separatist insurgencies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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