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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) has claimed that the twin bombings that killed 8 people in a military camp in Indanan town in Sulu on Friday, June 28, was a “dual suicide” attack carried out by its local affiliate, the Abu Sayyaf Group.
ISIS claimed the bombing was the work of two suicide attackers, according to tweets from Rita Katz, the director of SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activities worldwide.
3)#ISIS follows claim w/ photo report of both bombers. Important to note, the group continues to exaggerate casualty counts, claiming 100 k&w – FAR higher than the initial tally by officials, which states 5 killed and 9 wounded. Likely to rise, but not to levels claimed by ISIS pic.twitter.com/jI2FzTEXsn— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) June 28, 2019
Katz said in a tweet on Friday night, June 28, that ISIS claimed the “dual suicide operation” in Sulu, “marking the 17th attack in the country in 2019.”
She added that this was “especially troubling” as the “attacks come just days after #EastAsiaProvince #WestAfricaProvince #SinaiProvince videos showed fighters renewing pledges to Isis leader Baghdadi – indicating ISIS continued dedication to the regions in wake of its losses in native lands.” (READ: ANALYSIS: Global threat forecast 2019)
The military said the Abu Sayyaf was likely behind the midday blast on Friday, which killed 8 people, including the two bombers, and injured 22 others.
Military officials had confirmed that two bomb carriers executed the twin bombings. The first improvised explosive device went off at a military checkpoint outside the camp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT), while the second IED exploded inside the camp as the second bomb carrier ran to enter the camp.
The Philippines has renewed its campaign against the Abu Sayyaf this year after a suspected suicide bomber struck the Jolo Cathedral in January, killing 21 people.
Army spokesman Colonel Ramon Zagala said the latest attack targeted the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT), a new “super brigade” that arrived in the troubled province only a few weeks earlier.
“This attack is meant to disrupt the intensified security operations and our operational tempo following [(a] series of recent operational gains in the area,” Zagala said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms” and said authorities would go after the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups.
“We will run after them until they can run no more. The government will harness all its might to destroy the enemies of the state as well as their supporters to secure lasting peace in the region,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Saturday, June 29.
“If these bandits have not learned from the terrorists who were annihilated in Marawi, then this time they will,” he added.
The Abu Sayyaf had been active in the Philippines years before linking up with ISIS, and has supported its violent activities with kidnap-for-ransom activities. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com