MARAWI CITY, Philippines (LifeSiteNews) — Four people were killed and dozens injured in the bombing at a Catholic Mass on a university campus in the Philippines on Sunday. Radical Islamic ISIS militants have claimed credit for the attack.
The explosion rocked a gymnasium where Mass was being held at Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City on Mindanao Island, the second largest island in the Philippines, The Independent reported. At least four people were killed in the blast and at least 50 were injured.
University security chief Taha Mandangan told the outlet it was obvious the attack was an instance of terrorism.
“This is clearly an act of terrorism. It’s not a simple feud between two people,” Mandangan told the Associated Press. “A bomb will kill everybody around.”
“We unequivocally condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless and horrific act and extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families,” the university said in a statement, announcing that it has “suspended classes until further notice and has deployed additional security personnel to safeguard the campus.”
The university said it is “deeply saddened and appalled by the act of violence” and stands “in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy.”
“Violence has no place in a civilized society, and it is particularly abhorrent in an institution of higher learning like MSU, a bulwark of peace, harmony, solidarity, reverence for life and humanity,” the statement added.
Citing a communique reportedly obtained by SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online terrorism threats, CNN reported that ISIS took credit for the attack on Catholic Mass-goers.
According to the communique, ISIS reportedly said terrorists “detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christian disbelievers [sic] in Marawi City.”
Mindanao, where ISIS terrorists besieged the local population in 2017 and forced out some 350,000 residents, has become a “hotbed of insurgency against the Philippine government,” CNN noted. ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups have taken root on the island, which has a large Muslim population.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. spoke out against the attack, calling it “heinous” and declaring that it had been committed by “foreign terrorists.”
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists upon the Mindanao State University and Marawi communities early this Sunday morning,” Marcos said. “Extremists who wield violence against the innocent will always be regarded as enemies to our society.”
“I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the victims, their loved ones, and the communities that have been the target of this latest assault on peace,” he said, vowing to “bring the perpetrators of this ruthless act to justice.”
The attack on Catholic Filipinos comes as Islamic terrorism has once again begun dominating international headlines.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip, mutilating, raping, and murdering over 1,000 civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, and injuring thousands more. Hundreds of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers were also killed in the blitz, and nearly 250 people were taken hostage.
Israeli forces have responded by launching airstrikes against Gaza and conducting a massive ground invasion with the stated intention of eliminating Hamas. A temporary ceasefire late last month between the two forces led to the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, but fighting resumed in December after Israel said Hamas violated the pause by launching rockets at Israeli territory.