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Marawi university gym explosion kills four

MANILA, Philippines — (Update 2, 1:07 p.m.) — At least four people were killed and 43 were wounded when an explosion ripped through a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in Marawi City Sunday. 

The explosion took place while a Catholic Mass was being held at the university’s Dimaporo gymnasium, injuring 43 people. 

Four worshippers immediately died from the blast, while the wounded are being treated in different hospitals.

In a statement, MSU said it is “deeply saddened and appalled by the act of violence.”

“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 state university said.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. also denounced the “bombing” and called on the authorities to investigate the incident. 

“Here in my province, we uphold basic human rights, and that includes the right to religion. Terroristic attacks on educational institutions must also be condemned because these are places that promote the culture of peace and mold our youth to be the future shapers of this country,” he said. 

The explosion occurred six years after the Muslim-majority city of Marawi was besieged by groups affiliated with the Islamic State for five months. 

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. extended his condolences to the victims and their loved ones and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. 

In an interview with DZBB, Police BGen Allan Nobleza, regional director of the Bangsamoro police, said that authorities are investigating a range of motives, including the possible retaliation by ISIS-inspired group Dawlah Islamiyah. 

Eleven members of the terrorist group, including its self-proclaimed leader, were killed in military operations in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur Friday. 

Nobleza said that authorities are closely monitoring crowded areas, and intensifying checkpoint and patrol operations. 

MSU said that it has suspended classes until further notice and deployed additional security personnel to safeguard the campus. 

“Our immediate priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of all