ZAMBOANGA CITY (1st UPDATE) - The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has claimed responsibility for the blast in Davao City which left 14 dead and more than 60 wounded on Friday evening.
READ: Davao blast death toll rises to 14; 67 others hurt
ASG spokesperson Abu Rami said the Davao attack is a "call for unity to all mujahideen in the country" amid the all-out offensive of the military against the group.
Rami said that the attack in Davao City is not part of a tactic to divert the attention of government forces who have been pursuing the bandits in Sulu and Basilan.
He warned that similar attacks should be expected in the coming days.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week ordered intensified operations to finish off the 400-strong terror group, following the death of 15 soldiers in a clash in Patikul, Sulu.
After the explosion in Davao, Duterte also declared a "state of lawlessness," where he will "invite uniformed personnel to run the country."
READ: Duterte declares 'state of lawlessness'
The military and the Philippine National Police earlier dismissed circulating text messages about an imminent attack.