Loading
Several dead after Al Qaeda-linked militants bomb cathedral in Philippines
Bishop Martin S. Jumoad and Abu Sayyaf militants.
Bishop Martin S. Jumoad and Abu Sayyaf militants.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Abu Sayyaf militants conducted a bombing assault on Isabela City in the Philippines on Tuesday morning, killing several people and severely damaging the Cathedral of St. Isabel. The local bishop said the cathedral was “totally” damaged.

At least 25 militants with the Al Qaeda-linked group, dressed in police and camouflaged military uniforms, set off two bombs that blew up a van and damaged the 40-year-old cathedral. A third bomb placed near a judge’s house and a bus terminal was safely detonated by soldiers.

It was the worst attack by the group in months, Agence France Presse reports. The attacks started gun battles around the city as militants targeted helpless civilians.

City mayor Cherry Akbar initially told reporters that at least 15 people were killed in the violence, including five militants who apparently died in the first blast. The dead also included three Philippine Marines, a policeman and six civilians. The death toll was later revised downward to 14.

One of the dead was identified as a brother of Furuju Indama, a top Abu Sayyaf leader on the island of Basil.

Catholics are a minority in Basilan province. Responding to the attacks, Bishop Martin S. Jumoad of the Prelature of Isabela said the cathedral was “totally damaged” because its posts were weakened by the blast, CBCP News says.

“I am very, very sad the House of the Lord has been destroyed,” he added.

The 53-year-old prelate said he does not know how to rebuild the cathedral, constructed in 1970 with a capacity for 1,400 worshipers.

Philippines authorities said policemen and two Marine personnel responded to the first explosion at 9:30 a.m. at the Grandstand near the Basilan National High School but were fired upon by armed men.

A second explosion took place at about 10:30 a.m. in the vicinity of the cathedral and the city plaza. The improvised explosive device was placed in a motorcycle.

The blasts shattered the cathedral’s stained glass windows and damaged the priests’ rectory. Several priests’ service vehicles were also destroyed.

Regional military chief Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino said military intelligence had received reports of an impending attack, but not its details, AFP says.

"They were planning something big. This was well planned and apparently they were well funded."

Authorities suspect that politicians who hired mercenaries may have been behind the attacks.

“There were indications that the Abu Sayyaf was being used to sow violence, it was not pure terrorism,” said Senior Supt. Antonio Mendoza, Basilan police chief.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
23

Liturgical Calendar

November 23, 2014

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:31-46

Gospel
Date
11/23/14
11/22/14
11/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 11-12, 15-17
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28
Gospel:: Mt 25: 31-46

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14