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US denounces 'horrific' bomb attack in Marawi

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has condemned the “horrific terrorist attack” during a Catholic Mass at Mindanao State University in Marawi City that left at least four people dead and dozens wounded. 

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that Washington is in close contact with Manila and stands with Filipinos in rejecting the act of violence. 

“We mourn those killed in the attack, and our thoughts are with the injured,” Miller said in a statement. 

The bombing, which happened during a regular morning service at the gymnasium of MSU Sunday, was condemned by foreign governments.

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron stressed that “violence has no place in schools,” while US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said that the US government supports holding the perpetrators accountable. 

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, Pope Francis conveyed a message of assurance to the victims of the deadly blast. 

Authorities said there were strong indications pointing to the involvement of a “foreign element” in the attack, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. blaming the attack to “foreign terrorists.”

The police and the military are investigating whether the blast from an improvised explosive device may have been a revenge attack for recent operations against Islamist militant groups such as Dawlah Islamiyah-Philippines, Abu Sayyaf, and Maute.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blast. PLt. Eirene Mazon, Bangsamoro police public information officer, said in an interview with Teleradyo that investigators are “still gathering information” on the claim of the Islamic State. 

“We are accepting all the possibilities. As of now, we have persons of interests and we are looking into various angles to determine the cause of this incident,” Mazon said in Filipino.