ISIS claims responsibility for Jolo cathedral blasts

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/ 28 January) – The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the twin bombing in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday that left 20 persons dead and over 100 others injured.

The Site Intelligence Group, which monitors activities of suspected terror groups, said on its website that the Islamic State’s East Asia Province issued a formal communiqué claiming two of its members detonated two suicide explosive vests, one inside the Mt. Carmel Cathedral and another one at the church’s parking area.

It said the ISIS claimed the responsibility through its “Amaq News Agency.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier tagged the local Ajang-Ajang group with links to the Abu Sayyaf as the perpetrators of Sunday’s bombings.

AFP Western MIindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerry Besana said the suspects were identified through CCTV footages that were recovered by police and military investigators.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom warned its citizens from traveling to Mindanao excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao islands, hours after Sunday’s bombings.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office included in the travel warning the vacation towns of Dalaguete and Badian in Cebu.

AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal vowed to run after the group responsible for the bombings.

“I strongly commit, with the help of relevant agencies of government, to pursue the criminals with the full force of the law to ensure that the victims of this injustice will be prosecuted and punished,” Madrigal said.

Pope Francis in a twitter message asked for prayers for the victims of the bombings.

“Let us pray for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the Cathedral of Jolo in the Philippines. May the Lord, Prince of Peace, convert the hearts of the violent and grant the inhabitants of that region a peaceful coexistence,” the Pope said in a tweet Sunday.

Allison Lopez of the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was timely that they delivered medical supplies days before the bombings.

Lopez said they are coordinating with local hospitals in Sulu to bring in more medical supplies. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)