The scene of the recent explosion in the Philippines (Photo: sunstar.com.ph)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – At least two people were killed while 21 others were injured when an explosion occurred on December 31 afternoon, near the entrance of a mall in Cotabato city in southern Philippines, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chinese news agency cited Philippine military and police authorities as saying that an improvised explosive device exploded around 1:59 pm local time in front of a major mall, as hundreds of people were shopping for the New Year's Eve.

Cotabato city police said an unidentified man dropped a wrapped box in the area shortly before the blast.

Wounded victims were rushed to the nearest hospital while bomb disposal team quickly arrived at the scene.

The Philippine army is looking into the incident as well as trying to identify the kind of explosive device which was used in the case. Initial investigation results showed that it has similar design with ones frequently-used by local militants who pledged loyalty to the self-claimed Islamic State (IS) in their previous attacks.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. -VNA