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Four killed in bomb attack on Catholic mass in Philippines

MARAWI, Philippines: At least four people died and dozens were wounded Sunday in a bomb attack on a Catholic mass in the insurgency-plagued southern Philippines.
The blast, claimed by the Islamic State group, happened during a morning service at Mindanao State University's gymnasium in Marawi, the country's largest Muslim city, which was besieged by Islamist militant groups in 2017.


Police Lieutenant General Emmanuel Peralta said four people were killed and around 50 wounded in the blast from an improvised explosive device.
The Islamic State group said in a statement on its Telegram channels that "soldiers of the caliphate detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christians... in the city of Marawi."

Security officials had earlier said the bombing may have been a retaliatory attack for a series of military operations against Islamist militant groups in recent days.
Photos posted on the Lanao del Sur provincial government's Facebook page showed several overturned plastic chairs, shattered glass and debris around a black patch on the floor of the gymnasium.
University student Chris Jurado, 21, told AFP from his hospital bed that the explosion happened during the first Bible reading of the morning mass at 7:00 am (2300 GMT Saturday).


"It was really sudden and everyone ran," Jurado said.
"When I looked behind me people were lying on the floor. We didn't know what happened because everything happened so fast."
Rowena Mae Fernandez, 19, said she did not know what the blast was at first -- then others started running.
"My companion and I also ran, even though we fell on the ground at one point. That was the only thing I remembered until I got out of the gym and I fell again," she said from hospital.
"My friends were crying because they saw my injury."
Earlier in the day President Ferdinand Marcos condemned the attack by "foreign terrorists", describing it as "senseless" and "heinous", while Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims.
"I am close to the families, to the people of Mindanao, who have already suffered so much," the pontiff said from his residence in remarks broadcast in Saint Peter's Square.
Mindanao State University issued a statement condemning

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