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Monday, July 6, 2009

Pope Benedict Decries Bombing at Philippine Cathedral

Bystanders look at the debris caused by a bomb blast outside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City yesterday. AP

6-July-2009 -- Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2009 (CNA).- This morning in the Filipino town of Cotabato City, a bomb was detonated near the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, killing at least five people and wounding some 34 others. After praying the Angelus at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "deep rejection" of the attack and prayed for the victims.

The Holy Father explained that the attack is being attributed to Muslim extremists by the local police. The Pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, "the explosion of a bomb in front of the cathedral (Cotabato) during the celebration of Sunday Mass, has caused several deaths and numerous injuries, including some women and children."

"While praying for the victims of this ignoble gesture, I raise my voice once again to condemn the use of violence, which is never a decent way to solve problems," he added.

Hundreds of churchgoers remained inside the cathedral after the powerful explosion, praying even more fervently for “peace.” The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo was delivering his homily when the incident occurred, causing panic among churchgoers.

Rolando Emberga, a churchgoer, said some rushed to go out of the church, but Archbishop Quevedo tried to calm things down, the CBCP reports.

Emberga said the blast was extremely loud and that people inside the church were screaming.

Four people, including two soldiers, died instantly in the attack and a fifth victim died at the hospital, according to local police reports.

Source: EWTN

Death toll in Cotabato bombing rise to 6 Updated July 06, 2009 11:01 PM

COTABATO, Philippines (Xinhua) - The death toll in the roadside bombing yesterday morning outside a Catholic church in the restive southern Philippines rose to six today, local media reported.

Baby boy Jeffrey Sayrel, 1, who was critically injured, died on Monday afternoon at a hospital in the southern city of Cotabato, Edwin de Gracia, parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, told a local radio station.

"The doctors tried but due to severe shrapnel wounds in the body, the boy died," Gracia said.

Five people were killed on Sunday and 55 others were wounded when militants detonated a home-made bomb in front of the church.

"We were inside the church when the blast happened outside. Three of my kids were hit by shrapnels and Jeffrey was among ( those) in serious condition," Lanny, the boy's mother, told Xinhua.

"I'm angry with the attackers. I hope they will be captured by the authorities," she added.

Earlier, the military said perpetrators behind the bomb attack were believed to be trained by foreign militants hiding in the country.

US troops in the Philippines are helping the authorities to investigate the bomb attack.

Source: Philstar

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