IS claims responsibility for deadly bombing at Mindanao State University | Inquirer News

IS claims responsibility for deadly bombing at Mindanao State University

/ 08:18 AM December 04, 2023

IS claims responsibility for deadly bombing in Mindanao State University

Mindanao State University. PHOTO FROM MSU/WEBSITE

MANILA, Philippines — Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City on Sunday that killed at least four people and injured 50 others.

The bomb exploded during a Catholic Mass inside the university gymnasium in Marawi, which Islamist militants besieged for five months in 2017.


The Islamic State group, which wields influence in the country’s south, said on Telegram its members had detonated the explosive.


READ: US condemns ‘horrific terrorist attack’ in Marawi

Earlier on Sunday, before Islamic State’s claim, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned “the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists.” Police and the military strengthened security in the country’s south and around Manila’s capital.

In Rome, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims during his Sunday address and, in a separate written message, appealed to “Christ the prince of peace (to) grant to all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good.”

Law enforcement operations to bring to justice the perpetrators of the “terrorist activity” will “continue unabated,” Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro told a press conference.

READ: PH military on high alert after calling Marawi bombing terrorism


There were “strong indications of a foreign element” in the bombing, Teodoro said, refusing to elaborate so as not to compromise the ongoing investigation.

Fragments of a 16-mm mortar were recovered at the scene, senior police official Emmanuel Peralta told the press conference.

High alert

The blast in Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur province, followed a series of military operations against local pro-Islamic State groups in the southern Philippines, the military chief said.

READ: Group says too early for gov’t to conclude who is behind MSU bombing

One on Sunday in Lanao del Sur led to the killing of a leader of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute group.

“It is possible that what happened this morning was a retaliatory attack,” Armed Forces Chief Romeo Brawner told the press conference.

The Islamic State-linked Maute seized Marawi on May 2017, seeking to make it a Southeast Asian “wilayat” – or governorate – for the Islamic State.

READ: Abu Sayyaf bomb expert killed in Basilan military operation

In the ensuing five-month battle, Islamist fighters and Philippine forces killed more than a thousand people, including civilians.

Images shared by the Lanao del Sur government on Facebook showed military officials surveying the gym at the Mindanao State University where the blast occurred, which appeared intact except for burn marks in the center.

READ: 11 terrorist killed in Army offensives in Maguindanao del Sur

Videos posted by DZBB radio on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, showed rescuers carrying injured people out of the gym on plastic chairs.

Police offices in Mindanao and the capital region were placed on high alert, and police checkpoints tightened “to prevent possible follow-up incidents,” police official Peralta said.

READ: Moro leaders condemn bombing at Mindanao State University in Marawi

The coast guard directed its districts to intensify pre-departure inspections at ports.

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Mindanao State University said in a Facebook post it was “deeply saddened and appalled by the act of violence that occurred during a religious gathering.” “We unequivocally condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless and horrific act.”

The university said it was suspending classes until further notice.

TAGS: Bombing, Islamic State, Marawi, Mindanao

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