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Marawi blast that killed 4 was terrorism, Philippine President Marcos says

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MANILA — An explosion in the southern Philippines that killed at least four people Sunday was “perpetrated by foreign terrorists,” according to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The blast took place during a Catholic mass held inside a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in the majority-Muslim city of Marawi, some 500 miles south of Manila.

Marcos condemned “the senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists” in a statement on social media. “Extremists who wield violence against the innocent will always be regarded as enemies to our society,” he said.

The island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, which includes a Muslim-majority autonomous region, has historically been wracked with armed conflict and insurgent groups remain active in some areas.

Philippine forces cleared this city of Islamist militants in 2017. It’s still a ghost town.

Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr., governor of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao, said the province upholds “basic human rights, and that includes the right to religion.”

The university has suspended classes until further notice. “We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy,” it said in a statement.

An initial investigation found “the bomb signature is probably from Daula Islamiyah Maute Group,” said Philippine army spokesman Louie Dema-ala, but authorities were reviewing other possibilities.

The Mautes are an Islamic State-affiliated militant group that besieged Marawi City for five months in 2017.

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