Jolo blast death toll climbs to 22: military


Posted at Feb 01 2019 11:09 AM | Updated as of Feb 01 2019 11:10 AM

MANILA - The death toll in the twin explosions that rocked a Jolo cathedral on Sunday has risen to 22, authorities said Friday. 

The latest casualty was 68-year-old Thelma Villanueva, who died in the intensive care unit of the Zamboanga City Medical Center "after [her] family decided to cease life support," the military's Western Mindanao Command said. 

Two blasts rocked the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo Sunday morning while a mass was ongoing, killing parishioners and state troops. 

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the military is looking at the involvement of the IS-inspired Abu Sayyaf group. 

Investigation showed a woman left one of the bombs near a pew inside the church, but authorities have yet to establish the culprit's identity.

Four persons of interest, including the sibling of a slain Abu Sayyaf official, earlier surrendered to government troops to deny their involvement in the bloody incident.

The government has launched an all-out war against the Abu Sayaff group in the wake of the attack while the military called for calm and public vigilance. 

- with a report from Chrisel Almonia, ABS-CBN News