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Pope Francis offers prayers for victims of Marawi blast

Pope Francis has assured prayers for the victims of a deadly explosion that killed four and injured over 50 individuals while attending a mass at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City earlier on Sunday.

“I wish to assure my prayer for the victims of the attack that occurred this morning in the Philippines, where a bomb exploded during Mass,” he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“I am close to the families and the people of Mindanao, who have already suffered so much,” the pontiff added.

The explosion at the MSU’s Dimaporo Gymnasium — attended by students and faculty — occurred at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 3, 2023.

Philippine Army 1st Infantry Division commander Major General Gabriel Viray III described the attack as a “terror act.” He said a heightened alert has been implemented following the incident.

Bangsamoro Police Regional Office regional director Police Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said authorities are looking at the possible connection between the deaths of 11 members of the Dawlah Islamiyah militant group in a firefight with Army troops and the bombing.—RF, GMA INTEGRATED NEWS