Philippine authorities called for calm on Wednesday after a grenade attack on a mosque in a mainly Christian southern province killed two people, just three days after a devastating church bombing shook the restive Mindanao region.
A grenade was thrown into a mosque during the night in Zamboanga, killing two people and wounding four others, prompting condemnation and calls for cool heads and unity among Christian and Muslim communities with a long history of peaceful coexistence.
The grenade incident came a few hours after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on television said an attack on a church that killed 21 people on mainly Muslim Jolo island may have involved a suicide bomber.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said the second of two explosions in the church was “probably” a suicide bombing, but said it was not clear if Islamic State was really behind it, as it had not revealed the identity of the “martyr”.
Islamic State has claimed involvement, but the military believe it was the work of the Muslim militant Abu Sayyaf group.
Lorenzana told reporters forensic tests would be carried out to try to establish if the suspected bomber was a foreigner.
If confirmed, it would be the second known case of a suicide attack in the Philippines in recent years, following a bomb in a van last July on neighboring Basilan island, which killed 11 people and was claimed by Islamic State.
Lorenzana said there was no connection between the church bombs and the mosque attack, echoing remarks by a local task force commander that it was “not a retaliatory act”.A Growing Chorus of Republican Critics for Trump’s Foreign Policy