At least two people were killed and nearly 30 others wounded in a bomb attack outside a Catholic church in the strife-torn southern Philippines Sunday, police and military said.
The bomb exploded as churchgoers were filing out of the Immaculate Conception cathedral in Cotabato city after an early morning mass, police said.
City police chief Superintendent Willie Dangane told AFP that one body was recovered from the debris.
Another person died in hospital, according to police and hospital officials.
Froi Cordero, a priest who helped take the wounded to hospital, said about 27 people -- many of them women and children -- were being treated for blast wounds.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ponce was quick to blame separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels for the blast.
"The special operations group of the MILF is behind this," Ponce said, adding that the MILF had carried out similar attacks in recent weeks.
He said a bomb allegedly also planted by MILF rebels exploded in the nearby town of Datu Piang late Saturday, wounding three people.
"They are getting desperate because of the military operations," Ponce said, stressing that the attacks were apparently meant to divert military attention.