Manila, Philippines, Apr 15, 2010 / 03:01 am (CNA).- Abu Sayyaf militants conducted a bombing assault on Isabela City in the Philippines on Tuesday morning, killing several people and severely damaging the Cathedral of St. Isabel. The local bishop said the cathedral was “totally” damaged.
At least 25 militants with the Al Qaeda-linked group, dressed in police and camouflaged military uniforms, set off two bombs that blew up a van and damaged the 40-year-old cathedral. A third bomb placed near a judge’s house and a bus terminal was safely detonated by soldiers.
It was the worst attack by the group in months, Agence France Presse reports. The attacks started gun battles around the city as militants targeted helpless civilians.
City mayor Cherry Akbar initially told reporters that at least 15 people were killed in the violence, including five militants who apparently died in the first blast. The dead also included three Philippine Marines, a policeman and six civilians. The death toll was later revised downward to 14.
One of the dead was identified as a brother of Furuju Indama, a top Abu Sayyaf leader on the island of Basil.