ISIS owns bomb attack on Sultan Kudarat, says US intelligence group
ISULAN, SULTAN KUDARAT —- The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bomb attack in this town Tuesday night as the death toll reached two and dozens of others wounded.
The Maryland-based SITE Intelligence Group, an American company that tracks online activity of white supremacist and jihadist organizations, said the Islamic State’s (IS) East Asia Province claimed bombing Filipino soldiers in Isulan, the capital of Sultan Kudarat.
Chief Insp. Ronnie Dardo, provincial police spokesperson, could not confirm if the attack was carried out by ISIS, but said they intercepted an information about a possible attack in nearby Maguindanao province from Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
He said two other homemade bombs were recovered and defused at the blast site.
Mayor Marites Pallasigue identified the latest fatality as Davy Shane Alayon, 7; who died in the hospital, and Lenie Umbrod, 52.
Two of the 35 wounded victims, according to her, remained in a critical condition.
“We terminated the celebration of our 7th Hamungaya Festival and 61st foundation anniversary. The police and military tightened the security,” Pallasigue said.
Nissa Alayon, the mother of Davy Shane, said they were at a used clothing store a few meters from the blast site in the village of Kalawag 3 before the explosion.
She said she grabbed her daughter and ran towards a safe area where she found out her daughter was injured.
Marjelyn Suerte, 28, said her brother Francisco, 23, was walking to get his motorcycle to go home due to a stomach ache when the bomb exploded four meters away from him.
“He was in the town to register their newly acquired motorcycle at the Land Transportation Office,” Suerte said, adding her brother suffered shrapnel wounds in the head and legs.
She said bomb experts blew up their motorcycle after suspecting it also contained a homemade bomb.
Cherrybelle Preres, a member of the provincial security unit, told the Inquirer two soldiers identified as TSGT. Melchor Capilitan and SGT. Timjar Hambali of 33rd Infantry Battalion and a government military were among the wounded in the attack.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, regional military commander, said the bomb went off around 8:40 p.m. while soldiers were pursuing a man who reportedly left a package. Another explosive was recovered and defused.
“But before our men could capture the suspect, the bomb exploded,” he told a local radio station, adding the area had been cordoned off and the injured treated.
On July 31, at least 10 people were killed and several others wounded when a van allegedly carrying explosives exploded outside a checkpoint in the Island city of Lamitan in Basilan.
The attack, claimed by ISIS, came a few days after President Duterte invited the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group known for vicious attacks, to the negotiating table.
It also came shortly after he had signed a law giving Muslims in the south autonomy over areas in the south, four years after the government signed a peace deal with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Philippine military blamed the attack on Abu Sayyaf, a group linked with ISIS.
Apart from deadly bombings, the group is wanted for the beheadings of hostages, including a German national and two Canadians during the last two years.
It was also blamed for blowing up a passenger ferry on Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people in 2004.
One of its commanders, Isnilon Hapilon, became the leader of the Philippines’ IS faction and last year led an attack on the southern city of Marawi, a former major Muslim trading hub.
Hapilon was killed near the end of the five-month siege that destroyed the city and left at least 1,200 people dead, most of them militants.
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