Christmas Eve blast injures 13 in Philippines

COTABATO: A blast ripped through a police car outside a church in the southern Philippines late on Saturday, authorities said, wounding 13 people including a police officer. The explosion hit churchgoers attending a series of Christmas Eve masses at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Nino in the farming town of Midsayap, a priest who present at the service said. “The communion was ongoing when the explosion took place,” Father Jay Virador told reporters. The blast occurred about 30 metres away from the church’s entrance and caused panic, he added. The regional police spokesman, Superintendent Romeo Galgo, confirmed the blast which he said was caused by an unspecified explosive device. Thirteen people were wounded by the explosion and treated at nearby hospitals, including a police officer and an unidentified person, according to an updated police tally. Authorities did not immediately say who was responsible for the blast. No group has claimed responsibility. —AFP