Huge Philippine procession secured tightly amid terror fears

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MANILA, Philippines – A massive crowd of mostly barefoot Filipino Catholics has joined an annual procession of a centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ under extra-tight security after the Philippines came under a disastrous pro-Islamic State group attack last year.

Philippine police and military deployed more than 6,000 personnel, including snipers and bomb squads backed by a surveillance helicopter and drones, to secure the procession of the wooden Black Nazarene on Tuesday along Manila's streets. Authorities say no specific terrorist threat has been monitored. More than 600 devotees have been treated mostly for minor injuries and exhaustion.

Hundreds of militants laid siege for five months in southern Marawi city, leaving more than 1,100 combatants and civilians dead in the worst IS group-linked attack so far in Asia. Troops crushed the uprising in October.

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