No fewer than 20 people have been reported dead as terrorists bombed a Roman Catholic cathedral in southern Philippines this morning.
Two suspected improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated in intervals at the Jolo Catholic cathedral in the Mindanao region, according to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
The first device went off inside the cathedral, and the second one targeted nearby soldiers who rushed to help the victims of the first explosion, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.
The nation’s military and the police are securing the area and all casualties were immediately evacuated, regional officials said.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana condemned the bombing and said he has directed troops to “heighten their alert level” and secure places of worship and public spaces.