Multiple Bombs Rip Through Cathedral In Philippine Province—Could This Have Been Prevented?

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source: ABC News

A Roman Catholic cathedral on a Philippine Island was ripped apart on Sunday by two separate bombs.  Although no group has claimed to have made the attack the cathedral is located in an area known for active Muslim militant groups.  At last report, there were twenty known deaths, and eighty-one wounded, according to the local officials.

The first bomb went off either in or very near the cathedral, located in the provincial capital.  When government officials were responding to the first bomb, a second bomb was set off outside the compound.  Security officials state that the second bomb was most assuredly set off when it was for the sheer strategic timing of the situation. 

Both blasts ripped through the entrance of the cathedral, continuing their destructive path into the main hall.  All that was left inside was shredded pieces of wood, that were formerly pews, and massive toppled doors. 

Police at this point know of twenty confirmed deaths, and at least eighty-one confirmed injured.  Of the twenty confirmed deaths, fifteen are reported to be civilians and five were confirmed troop members.  Among the number of wounded were sixty-five civilians, fourteen troops, and two law enforcement personnel.

Outside the cathedral, Our Lady Of Mount Carmel, the busy streets was littered with wooden debris and the bodies of those dead and injured.  This is not the first bombing of this particular cathedral, as others have happened in the past. 

Troops quickly set about blocking off the main road, as vehicles were dispatched to collect the dead and transport the wounded to the hospital for further evaluation an treatment.  Those injured the worst was airlifted to the nearby city of Zamboanga for treatment.

After the bombings, the office of the President Rodrigo Duterte released a statement:

“We will pursue to the ends of the Earth the ruthless perpetrators behind this dastardly crime until every killer is brought to justice and put behind bars.  The law will give them no mercy.”

Jolo Island where the bombings occurred, is one home to a group of militants that call themselves Abu Sayyaf.  These same individuals have been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippine, having been classified as a terrorist organization.  They are known for multiples bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings.

As of this writing, no one, including the Abu Sayyaf, has claimed to be responsible for this latest series of bombing attacks.

What’s the verdict—you decide.

Was this indeed a terroristic act of the local Muslim militants?