Philippines: 4 Killed in Bomb Blast at Catholic Mass in Marawi

On December 3, 2023, a bomb exploded during a Catholic mass service at the Mindanao State University gymnasium in Marawi City, Philippines. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, leading to at least four dead and dozens of injuries.

Philippines: 4 Killed in Bomb Blast at Catholic Mass in Marawi

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The explosion occurred during a Catholic mass, causing devastation in the university gymnasium. The SITE Intelligence Group, a counterterrorism threat intelligence organization, reported that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to the group, ISIS fighters detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christian disbelievers in Marawi City.

The use of violence against civilians during a religious event underlines the nature of the attackers. Authorities confirmed at least four fatalities and more than 40 people injured, some severely.

The injured were rushed to a government hospital in Marawi for treatment. Lanao Del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. expressed his condemnation, stating that “terroristic attacks on educational institutions must also be condemned.”

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. denounced the attack, referring to it as “senseless and most heinous, perpetrated by foreign terrorists.” Additional security personnel were deployed to assist in the response.

The United States also condemned the attack, with State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller describing it as a horrific terrorist attack.

Mindanao has been a hotspot for insurgency against the Philippine government. While the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, Mindanao is home to a sizable Muslim population. The island has witnessed the activities of various Islamist insurgent groups.

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In 2017, Marawi was besieged by ISIS-affiliated militants for five months, leading to displacement and casualties. The attack raises concerns about the resurgence of extremist activities in the region.

President Marcos Jr. vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice and instructed the national police and armed forces to ensure the protection of civilians.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro mentioned “strong indications of a foreign element” in the bombing, addressing the need for a thorough investigation.

Law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident, exploring links to recent military operations against Islamist militant groups in the region.

The authorities are considering the possibility of a retaliatory attack, particularly by the Maute-ISIS group, which had previously held Marawi under siege.

Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims during his Sunday address, addressing the need to overcome violence with good.

The world, including the United States, has expressed solidarity with the Philippines, condemning the attack and offering support in the face of such incident.

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Local leaders, including Lanao Del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, and BARMM Member of Parliament Amir Mawallil, have condemned the attack.

They underlined the importance of upholding human rights and ensuring the safety of educational institutions.

Efforts to achieve peace, including a peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014, have been ongoing.

However, smaller militant factions, some professing allegiance to ISIS, continue to pose a threat to stability in the region.

local leaders, including Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., condemned the attack on educational institutions, addressing the importance of promoting a culture of peace.

The Mindanao State University expressed deep sorrow and condemnation for the senseless and horrific act, announcing the suspension of classes until further notice.

Security measures have been intensified across the country, with police checkpoints tightened to prevent possible follow-up incidents. The Philippines Coast Guard directed its districts to enhance pre-departure inspections at ports.

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