ISIS claims responsibility for deadly bomb attack on catholic mass in Philippines

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ISIS has claimed responsibility on Sunday for a bomb attack on a Catholic mass in the southern Philippines, which police said killed at least four people.

“The soldiers of the caliphate detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christians... in the city of Marawi,” the group said in a statement on its Telegram channels.

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Police Lieutenant General Emmanuel Peralta said four people were killed and around 50 wounded in the blast from an improvised explosive device.

Security officials had earlier said the bombing may have been a retaliatory attack for a series of military operations against extremist militant groups in recent days.

Photos posted on the Lanao del Sur provincial government’s Facebook page showed several overturned plastic chairs, shattered glass and debris around a black patch on the floor of the gymnasium.

University student Chris Jurado, 21, told AFP from his hospital bed that the explosion happened during the first Bible reading of the morning mass at 7:00 am (2300 GMT Saturday).

“It was really sudden and everyone ran,” Jurado said.

“When I looked behind me people were lying on the floor. We didn’t know what happened because everything happened so fast.”

Mindanao State University issued a statement condemning “the act of violence” as it suspended classes and deployed more security personnel on the campus.

“We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy,” the university said.

Marawi city Mayor Majul Gandamra urged members of the Muslim and Christian communities to remain united.

“Our city has long been a beacon of peaceful coexistence and harmony, and we will not allow such acts of violence to overshadow our collective commitment to peace and unity,” Gandamra said in a statement condemning the attack.

With agencies

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