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Bomb blasts hurt at least 32 at Philippine boxing match

MANILA, Philippines >> At least 32 people were wounded when two bombs exploded while they were watching a boxing competition in a central Philippine town as part of an annual Roman Catholic holiday festival, police and other officials said Thursday.

Sixteen of the wounded were admitted to various hospitals while 16 others went home after treatment of their injuries from the late-Wednesday twin blasts in Hilongos town in Leyte province, said Senior Inspector Jenyzen Enciso, the provincial police spokeswoman.

Police recovered an 81 mm mortar cartridge and a cellphone apparently used to detonate the homemade bombs, she said.

Nobody has claimed responsibility and investigators were trying to identify the attackers.

The victims include at least 10 children aged 7 to 15 years old.

Philippine forces have been placed on alert amid on and off offensives in the country’s south against Muslim militants, including Abu Sayyaf gunmen and armed sympathizers of the Islamic State group who have targeted the capital, Manila, and other urban centers in the past.

Communist guerrillas also have a presence in Leyte province, about 610 kilometers (380 miles) southeast of Manila, but there was no immediate indication they or Muslim militants were involved.

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