At least 18 people were killed when a Catholic church was hit by twin bomb attack on a southern Philippine island that is a stronghold of Islamist militants on Sunday, January 27, 2019.
Military reports indicate that a powerful first explosion occurred inside a church as Mass underway in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo in the Catholic-majority nation’s restive south.
Minutes after, a second blast happened outside the church targeting troops who were rushing to help the wounded in the smoking and heavily damaged church on Jolo, which is overwhelmingly Muslim.
It is one of the deadliest suicide bomb attacks to strike the insurgency-plagued southern Philippines in years, and shows the violence in the region is not over despite recent steps toward peace, experts said.
There have been at least 10 attacks against or near the cathedral since 2000 according to local reports.
ISIS claimed through its propaganda news agency that its two martyrs carried out a twin suicide attack.