Deadly Philippine bombing likely a suicide attack: army
The Islamic State-claimed attack on a military base that killed seven in the restive southern Philippines bears the hallmarks of a suicide bombing, the military said Saturday.
Suicide attacks are generally rare in the Philippines, but the tactic has been used in two major bombings by extremist groups in the last 12 months.
The main suspect in Friday’s blasts on the island of Jolo is kidnap-for-ransom group and IS-affiliate Abu Sayyaf, which has carried out some of the nation’s worst attacks.
The blasts that killed three soldiers, two civilians and two unidentified people who might be the attackers, also left multiple body parts in the street.
“We are still investigating the incident,” Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Monfort, a military spokesman, told AFP. “One of the most probable angles is a suicide bombing.”
IS claimed the assault was the work of two suicide attackers, according to tweets from Rita Katz, the director of SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activities worldwide.
The jihadists also released a photo showing two young men who were standing on either side of the group’s black flag.
IS regularly claims responsibility for killings of Philippine government troops and took credit for the January bombing of a Catholic cathedral during Sunday mass that was the nation’s deadliest attack in years.
Authorities said the cathedral blast and a van bomb at a military checkpoint on the island of Basilan in July 2018 were likely both suicide attacks.
The Philippines has received sustained attention from IS as it works to maintain a presence via its global affiliates following the fall of its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in the Middle East.
The Muslim areas of the south are home to numerous armed groups, several of which are linked to the decades-old insurgency aiming to create a homeland in the Christian-majority nation.