Islamic State Claims Responsibility of Blast in the Philippines

A militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility of the bomb explosion inside a van, which killed around 11 people at a military checkpoint.

The blast took place on Basilan, which is considered to be the stronghold of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group. The group is known for kidnapping and banditry. An army spokesperson stated that five paramilitary troopers, a soldier, a suspected bomber, and four civilians, got killed. He further added that the seven people were wounded in the explosion.

Vehicle bombings are extremely rare in the Philippines, regardless of the violence taking place between separatist and Islamist for decades undermined the Mindanao region and attracted foreign extremist.

Islamic Stated who claimed the responsibility of the bombing called their action as a martyrdom operation. A spokesperson of the President condemned the bombing and called it to be war crime.

Tuesday’s explosion happened moments after the troops stopped the van and was speaking to the driver. It is being assumed that as the driver was alone, he might have detonated the bomb. Witnesses recount that the driver spoke in an unfamiliar dialect.

Military spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo stated that the security forces are looking into the matter and there is no evidence yet which can conclude that the incident was a suicide bombing or carried out by a foreigner.

Intelligence agencies pointed out those militants planned to build homemade bombs and target army bases. Opposition lawmaker condemned the action to be a horrifying attack and also a cowardly act. He also urged that the attack should not thwart the move towards self-determination for the Muslims of the region. The bombing is a sign that extremists are hell-bent to sabotage the peace efforts. With President Rodrigo Dutertr offering peace talks with several Abu Sayyaf factions. He even approved a la to allow minority Muslims in the region to create an independent area with their own political and economic power.

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