Cairo, Dec 3 (EFE) – The Islamic State on Sunday claimed responsibility for the earlier terrorist attack with an explosive device that left four people dead and another 42 injured during a Catholic mass in Marawi, southern Philippines.
In a statement released through its Telegram channel, the terrorist organization said that “the soldiers of the caliphate detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christians … in the city of Marawi.”
The message added that the action killed several Christians and injured dozens.
The blast occurred around 7:00 am local time in a gymnasium at the University of Mindanao, where a religious event attended by dozens of people was taking place.
Mamintal Adiong, governor of Lanao del Sur province, of which Marawi is the capital, condemned the terrorist attack.
“Here in my province, we uphold basic human rights and that includes the right to religion. Terroristic attacks [sic] on educational institutions must also be condemned because these are places that promote the culture of peace and mold our youth to be the future shapers of this country,” Adiong posted on Facebook before visiting a hospital where the injured are being treated.
In 2017, Marawi was the scene of a bloody confrontation after jihadist groups linked to the Islamic State took partial control of the city on May 23, entering with flags and standards of the terrorist organization.
For five months, the Philippine Army fought the extremists in the streets until it was able to liberate the city in a battle that left more than 1,200 people dead: 978 jihadists, 168 soldiers and 87 civilians.
With a Muslim population of nearly 20 percent, the southern island of Mindanao has been the scene of conflict between the government and various extremist groups for decades, including the jihadist Abu Sayaf organization and the Maute group, both of which are affiliated with IS.
The Marawi blast came two days after 11 suspected members of the Dawlah Islamiyah terrorist group and its leader were killed in military operations in a mountainous area of Maguindanao del Sur province in southwestern Mindanao. EFE