At least five killed and 17 injured in bomb attack in the Philippines

At least five killed and 17 injured in bomb attack in the Philippines

At least five soldiers died today and 17 other soldiers and civilians were injured in a bomb attack in a city in the southern Philippines, despite increased security motivated by threats from the Islamic extremist movement Abu Sayyaf.

Regional military spokesman Captain Rex Payot and police said the blasts had damaged shops and two army trucks in Jolo, in the province of Sulu.

Initial information indicated that the first bomb was placed on a parked motorcycle.

A second explosion was heard in the area shortly after, but it was unclear whether it caused more casualties or damage in the city center, which was isolated by soldiers and police.

Two military officers said five army soldiers died in the initial explosion, but did not provide further details.

The attack has not been claimed so far, but Abu Sayyaf militants have been responsible for most of the deadly attacks in Sulu and the remote provinces where they are present.

The military has been on an offensive for months against Abu Sayyaf, a small but violent group, aligned with the Islamic State and blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines for attacks, rescue hijackings and beheadings.

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