Two bombs tore through a Roman Catholic cathedral in southern Philippines today, killing at least 20 people and leaving over 111 others wounded, local officials say.
The first blast happened as Sunday Mass was being celebrated at the church on Jolo island, where Islamist militants are active.
Witnesses said the first blast inside the Jolo cathedral in the provincial capital sent churchgoers, some of them wounded, to stampede out of the main door.
As soldiers responded, a second device was detonated in the car park.
Army troops and police posted outside were rushing in when the second bomb went off about one minute later near the main entrance, causing more deaths and injuries. The military was checking a report that the second explosive device may have been attached to a parked motorcycle.
Police said at least 20 people died and 111 were wounded
The initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted window glass panels, and the second bomb hurled human remains and debris across a town square fronting the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, witnesses said. Cellphone signal was cut off in the first hours after the attack.
No group has so far said it was behind the attack. Jolo has long been a base for militants including those of the Abu Sayyaf group.
The attack comes days after a majority-Muslim area in the region voted for greater autonomy in a referendum.