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Bomb threat messages spread night before MSU blast -BARMM

Bomb threat messages were circulating the night before the deadly explosion at the Mindanao State University's (MSU's) Dimaporo Gymnasium in Marawi City on Sunday, according to the Bangsamoro government.

“Mayroon ding nagci-circulate na text messages noong gabi ng Sabado na may gagawing pagpapasabog pero hindi naka-specify kung saan iyon,” Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) spokesperson Naguib Sinarimbo said in a Monday Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing.

(Some text messages were circulating on Saturday evening saying that there would be an explosion but there was no specified location.)

“Ito kailangan talagang tignan maigi para mas makita kung saan talaga iyong pinanggalingan ng pambobomba na ito,” Sinarimbo added.

(We have to look into these so we can determine the source of the bombing.)

According to Sinarimbo, there were reports that the Islamic State was behind the explosion.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is validating the claim of Islamic State that it was responsible for the explosion.

Aside from Islamic State, AFP public affairs office chief Colonel Xerxes Trinidad said the military was also checking the possible involvement of Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group in the attack that killed four people.

“The AFP is validating the claims made by ISIS in the recent news reports as well as the involvement of the DI-Maute Group in this heinous act of terror,” Trinidad told reporters.

The military and the police are looking at the bomb signature used to determine what group is responsible for the explosion, according to Trinidad.

Police said they identified more than two persons of interest in the bomb attack.

“We have persons of interest and one of our persons of interest pointed on 'yung local terrorist,” Bangsamoro Police Regional Office chief Police Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said.

“Mayroon kaming (we have) persons of interest but the investigation is still ongoing. In order not to preempt the investigation we will not divulge the names,” Nobleza said.

The Islamic State group, which wields influence in the country's south, said on Telegram that its members had detonated the bomb, according to a Reuters report.

Nobleza said police were looking at different angles in the investigation.

The blast occurred at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday as a Mass was being held at the gym attended by students and teachers.

Four people were killed, and 45 others were hurt. Of the wounded individuals, 35 have been released from the hospital, according to the police. The bodies of all fatalities have been identified.

At least 10 wounded persons are still at the hospital and five of them are critically injured. — DVM, GMA Integrated News