Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
The deadly December 3 bombing in the Philippines has been claimed by the terrorist organization ISIS. The incident killed four and wounded an estimated 50, with six more fighting for their lives in intensive care as of the writing of this article.
The bomb went off in a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in southern Marawi city, during a Catholic Mass. According to CNN, the SITE Intelligence Group, a group that analyzes terrorist threats through online activity, intercepted a communique on Monday stating that ISIS fighters had “detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christian disbelievers in Marawi City.”
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned the attack as the work of “foreign terrorists”:
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists upon the Mindanao State University,” President Marcos said in a statement. “Extremists who wield violence against the innocent will always be regarded as enemies to our society.”
Fox News reports that police investigators on the scene identified fragments of a 60mm mortar round at the site of the attack. Improvised explosives constructed from mortar rounds are a hallmark of Islamic militants, who have used such means to create explosive devices in the past.
Military chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. suggested that the attack was orchestrated in response to the recent killing of 11 suspected Islamic militants in an airstrike in the southern Maguindanao province.
US officials have spoken out against the attack, with State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stating:
“We mourn those killed in the attack, and our thoughts are with the injured. The United States is in close contact with our Philippine partners and stands with the people of the Philippines in rejecting this act of violence.”
On Sunday, Pope Francis assured the victims of the attack of his prayers. As the Pope is still recovering from a respiratory infection, a bishop read the pope’s Angelus address, in which he said:
“I wish to assure my prayer for the victims of the attack that occurred this morning in the Philippines, where a bomb exploded during Mass. I am close to the families and the people of Mindanao, who have already suffered so much.”