HomeTop HeadlinesBomb Attack at Philippine Catholic Mass Leaves Four Dead

Bomb Attack at Philippine Catholic Mass Leaves Four Dead

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At Mindanao State University in Marawi City, Philippines, a bomb explosion disrupted a Catholic mass on Sunday morning, December 3, 2023, leading to four fatalities and injuring 50 individuals. 

The explosion occurred in the university’s gymnasium, creating a scene of panic and chaos among students and faculty. 

Major General Gabriel Viray III, the regional military leader, confirmed the incident, noting that the dead included at least three women. Most of the injuries were minor, and the victims received medical attention at two nearby hospitals.

Taha Mandangan, the university’s security chief, described the explosion as a clear terrorist act, highlighting its random nature. 

The mass was particularly crowded, marking the beginning of Advent, a significant period leading up to Christmas in the Catholic Church.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. strongly condemned the attack, characterizing it as senseless and attributing it to foreign terrorist groups.

Echoing this sentiment, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and military Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. pointed to possible foreign involvement. General Brawner also speculated that the bombing might be retaliation by Muslim militants against recent military operations targeting Dawlah Islamiyah, a group aligned with the Islamic State.

The history of Marawi City, situated in the predominantly Muslim Lanao del Sur province, includes violence linked to Islamic militants. Notably, the city witnessed a severe five-month conflict in 2017 involving Islamic State-linked militants, resulting in over a thousand deaths. Although a peace agreement exists with the largest separatist group, smaller factions persist in their violent endeavors.

In response to the bombing, the Philippines heightened security measures nationwide, including in Manila. These measures include more rigorous intelligence gathering, enhanced inspections, and the deployment of bomb-detection dogs and sea marshals. 

Carlito Galvez, a presidential adviser and former military chief, vehemently condemned the bombing, assuring that such acts would not be tolerated. 

Additionally, Brigadier General Allan Nobleza, a regional police chief, also linked this attack to the recent operation in Maguindanao province, southern Philippines, where 11 suspected Islamic militants were killed. 

Authorities continue to investigate to identify those responsible and prevent future terrorist activities in the region.

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