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Twin blasts wound 33 people in central Philippines



At least 33 people have sustained injuries in two bomb attacks in a central town in the Philippines, officials say, a second instance of terrorism in the Southeast Asian country in less than a week.

Late on Wednesday, two bombs went off when hundreds of people had gathered to watch an amateur boxing competition, held as part of an annual Roman Catholic holiday festival, in Hilongos, in Leyte Province, police and government officials said on Thursday.

According to the provincial police spokeswoman, senior inspector Jenyzen Enciso, 16 of the wounded had been submitted to nearby hospitals and the rest had been treated on the scene by paramedics. At least 10 children, aged seven to 15, were among the injured.

Police also said that they had recovered an 81-millimetre mortar cartridge and a mobile phone, apparently used to detonate the two homemade bombs, near the blast site.

No suspects have been identified in connection with the bomb attacks, and no individual or group has so far claimed responsibility for the explosions.

The blasts took place four days after a grenade explosion wounded 16 people outside a Catholic church during a Christmas Eve mass in the country’s restive southern island of Mindanao.

Police said they had no clue whether that incident was linked with the Wednesday bombings.

The Philippines is already on alert for sporadic terror attacks in the country, particularly in its southern parts, where the two terrorist groups of Abu Sayyaf and Maute operate. Both groups have pledged alliance to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is itself mainly active in Iraq and Syria.

The deadliest recent terrorist attack in the Philippines occurred in September, when 15 people lost their lives in an explosion in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown of Davao.

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