Philippines: Two bombs at a Roman Catholic cathedral in southern Philippines have killed 20 people and injured dozens more, local officials said on Sunday.
The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attack on Jolo island, where jihadist groups are active.
A powerful first explosion occurred inside as Mass was being celebrated in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo in the Catholic-majority nation’s restive south.
Shortly afterwards, a second explosion outside apparently targeted troops who were rushing to help the wounded in the smoking and heavily damaged church on Jolo, which is overwhelmingly Muslim.
Five soldiers, a member of the coast guard and 12 civilians were among the dead, regional military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana said.
At least 82 people were injured, including 65 civilians, 15 soldiers and two coast guard members, the Armed Forces of the Philippines West Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said. By 6 p.m., 18 casualties had been evacuated from Sulu to Zamboanga city by air ambulance.
Regional police chief Graciano Mijares put the toll slightly higher at 20 dead, lower than a figure of 27 he gave initially.
The second bomb was left in the utility box of a motorcycle in the parking area outside the church, a military report said.
A statement from IS said the attack was carried out by “two knights of martyrdom” against a “crusader temple”.
Jolo has long been a base for militants, including those of the Abu Sayyaf group. Several of its factions have declared allegiance to IS.