Three people have been killed and fifty wounded in an explosion at a Catholic Mass in the Philippines.
According to the BBC, the incident occurred in a gymnasium at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi on Sunday morning, Dec. 3.
The university said it was ‘deeply saddened and appalled’ by the ‘senseless and horrific’ violence.
‘Violence has no place in a civilized society, and it is particularly abhorrent in an institution of higher learning like MSU,’ it said.
‘We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy.’
The university added that additional security staff had been deployed on its campus and that all academic activities would be suspended until further notice.
Islamic State militants are responsible for the explosion
Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing at a Catholic Mass in the Philippines on Sunday that killed at least four people and injured 50 others.
The Islamic State group, which wields influence in the country’s south, said on Telegram its members had detonated the bomb.
Earlier on Sunday, before Islamic State’s claim, Philippine 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 the capital Manila.
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’.
Why the attack?
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 Islamic State.
In the ensuing five-month battle, Islamist fighters and Philippine forces killed more than a thousand people, including civilians.