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Three people killed in massive explosion in southern Philippines | Philippines

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Police say explosion at Mindanao State University gymnasium in Marawi may be revenge by pro-Islamic State militants

Staff and agencies

Three people were killed and nine injured when an explosion ripped through a university gymnasium during a Catholic mass in the southern Philippines.

Authorities are investigating the explosion at Mindanao State University in Marawi on Sunday, regional police director Brigadier General Allan Nobleza told reporters.

The explosion caused panic among dozens of worshipers and left the victims bloodied and sprawled on the ground, said Taha Mandangan, head of security at the sprawling state-run university campus.

At least two of the injured were fighting for their lives, Mandangan said.

“This is clearly an act of terrorism. This is not a simple quarrel between two people. One bomb will kill everyone,” Mandangan told the Associated Press.

Army troops and police immediately cordoned off the area and conducted an initial investigation and checked security cameras to determine who might have been responsible for the attack. Security checkpoints have been set up around the city.

Nobleza said one of the favored avenues was possible revenge by pro-Islamic State militants. Marawi was besieged by Islamist militants for five months in 2017.

The Philippine military announced Saturday that it had killed 11 militants, including members of Dawlah Islamiyah-Philippines, a pro-Islamic State group, during a military operation the day before in Maguindanao del Sur province.

“I condemn the violent bombing that occurred this morning,” Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr said in a statement.

“Terrorist attacks on educational institutions must also be condemned because they are places that promote the culture of peace. »

The university released a statement on Facebook saying it was “deeply saddened and dismayed by the act of violence that occurred at a religious gathering.” We unequivocally condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this senseless and horrific act. »

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report

Gn world

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