Homemade explosive goes off at Lamitan church

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MANILA, Feb. 27, 2015— A homemade incendiary device exploded outside the entrance of a Catholic parish church in Southern Philippines on Friday evening, but no one was hurt and there was minor damage, a priest said.

The explosion occurred about 9:30 p.m. outside the St. Peter Parish Church in Lamitan City in Basilan.

Lamitan parish priest Fr. Pascual Benitez, 40, said the bomb was planted right on the church’s main gate.

Benitez said he had just returned from dinner outside and was watching the television inside his convent when the bomb exploded.

“So I was maybe the target because the bomb was placed on the gate which I used when I went out of the convent,” Benitez said.

He said minor damage could be seen at the gate.

Benitez has been serving as Lamitan parish priest for three years now “and it’s the first time that the church is the object of a bomb attack under my term”.

In 2010, local authorities foiled a planned bomb attack when they found and dismantled an improvised explosive device a few meters away from the church.

Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad condemned the attack and urged the authorities to investigate the incident.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but investigators recovered parts of a cellphone that they believe detonated the device. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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