ISIL claims responsibility for bombing at Catholic mass in the Philippines

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News Team

At Mindanao State University, a blast killed four people and injured many others. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Catholic mass service in the southern Philippines. The explosion occurred in a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in Marawi City, where pro-ISIL fighters led a five-month siege in 2017 that resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people.

ISIL stated on Telegram that “the soldiers of the caliphate detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christians in the city of Marawi.” Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr condemned the “senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists.” Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro mentioned “strong indications of a foreign element” at a press conference.

The United States State Department condemned the “horrific terrorist attack” and expressed solidarity with Filipinos in rejecting violence. Philippine security officials suggested that the attack may have been retaliation for a military operation about 200km from Marawi City that killed 11 Islamist rebels.

Police are investigating at least two people of interest over the bombing. Regional police chief Allan Nobleza told GMA News that they will not disclose the names in order to avoid preempting the investigation. Mindanao State University expressed deep sadness over the “senseless and horrific act” and suspended classes until further notice.

Mindanao, an island in the country’s far south, has been plagued by violence due to an insurgency by armed separatist groups. In 2014, Manila signed a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest separatist group, after decades of fighting. However, smaller groups have continued to carry out attacks across the island.

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