Church leaders have condemned bomb explosions that killed at least 20 people and injured about 100 others inside a Catholic church in the southern Philippines on January 27. They called the attack a “heinous and evil” act of terrorism. Allegedly, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred during Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the city of Jolo.
Islamic State, which often claims responsibility for acts of terrorism, issued a statement claiming two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts inside the church and near its entrance.
The first blast left bodies strewn on the floor amid destroyed pews.
A second explosion near the entrance shortly after killed at least five soldiers trying to help the wounded. The attack, one of the deadliest in recent years in Mindanao, occurred less than a week after a plebiscite was held on expanding and strengthening an existing Muslim autonomous region in the area.
The Filipino bishops’ conference condemned the attack and called on Christians “to join hands with all peace-loving Muslim and indigenous communities in combating violent extremism”.
Pope Francis also expressed his sorrow over the attack.