A twin bomb explosion at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the Philippines has killed at least 20 people.
More than 81 others were also injured following the detonations in or near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo city, Sulu.
Terrorists set off the first bomb during Sunday mass and then exploded the second one when government forces were responding to the attack.
Soldiers guarding a Catholic Church where two bombs exploded in Jolo city, Sulu, Philippines (Picture: EPA)
The cathedral after the bombing (Picture: EPA)
Police shut of roads as they evacuated the dead and injured (Picture: AP)
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement: ‘I have directed our troops to heighten their alert level, secure all places of worships and public places at once, and initiate pro-active security measures to thwart hostile plans.’
The main road leading to outside the cathedral has been sealed off while the dead and injured were taken away. Photos on social media showed debris and bodies lying on a street. The church has been attacked by terrorists in the past.
Covered bodies lie on the ground in front of a church (Picture: EPA)
More than 80 people were injured (Picture: AP)
The injured were rushed to hospital (Picture: EPA)
The explosions killed at least 20 people
Jolo island has long been troubled by the presence of terrorist Abu Sayyaf group. No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack came nearly a week after minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation endorsed a new autonomous region in the southern Philippines in hopes of ending nearly five decades of a separatist rebellion that has left 150,000 people dead.