At least 14 people were killed and 75 others wounded in a bomb blast and a suicide bombing on Monday in southern Philippines, with Islamic State militants suspected of being behind the attack, AP reported.
The incident took place in Jolo town in southern Sulu province. Those injured in the attack includes soldiers, police officials and civilians, regional military commander Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan said.
The first bombing occurred when a motorcycle laden with explosives went off near two army trucks parked in front of a computer shop and a grocery store, Vinluan said, adding that most number of casualties were reported from this incident. The explosion claimed the lives of at least five soldiers and four civilians, according to Al Jazeera.
A military report said the second blast, reportedly carried out by a female suicide bomber, happened an hour later when the authorities were cordoning off the area. A police commando and a soldier, besides the bomber, were killed and several others injured. The suspected bomber approached the soldiers, who were securing a Roman Catholic cathedral, and then blew herself up. This blast happened near the site of a 2019 bomb blast in which at least 20 people had died inside a cathedral, state-run PTV reported.
An unexploded bomb was reportedly also found in a market. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the military blamed an Abu Sayyaf militant commander, Mundi Sawadjaan. Sulu is considered the stronghold of group, which has allegiance with the Islamic State. Abu Sayyaf has been designated a terrorist group by the United States and the Philippines because of its history of bombings, ransom abductions, including foreigners, and beheadings.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque condemned the bombings “in the strongest possible terms”.
Philippine police chief General Archie Francisco Gamboa said an investigation has been ordered and all the accused will be held accountable.