Jolo church attack: Many killed in Philippines


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A twin-bomb attack at a church in southern Philippines has killed at least 19 people and injured 42 others, officials say.

The first blast happened as Sunday Mass was celebrated at a Roman Catholic cathedral on Jolo island.

As soldiers responded, a second device was detonated in the parking lot.

The attack happens after a predominantly Muslim area in the region voted for greater autonomy in a referendum last week.

Jolo has long been a base for Islamist militants, including those of the Abu Sayyaf group.

The first blast happened at 08:45 local time (00:45 GMT) at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which has been hit by bombs in the past.

The victims included civilians and soldiers but initial numbers were conflicting.

Images posted on social media showed the main road leading to the church sealed off by soldiers in armoured personnel carriers.

Last week, voters approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in majority-Muslim areas of southern Philippines.

But voters in Sulu province, where Jolo is located, rejected it.


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