Philipinnes jihadists funded by Isis in Syria, say experts

Philipinnes jihadists funded by Isis in Syria, say experts”

Jones said there now may be a higher risk of attacks on other Philippine cities, and that cooperation between militants across regional borders could expand.

Since hundreds of militants from two Muslim groups seized large parts of Marawi in May, they have fought the Philippine military to a stalemate using urban warfare tactics learnt from veteran fighters who returned from the Middle East.

The Philippines has withdrawn its plan to host the Southeast Asian Games in 2019 due to terrorism threat that continues to hang over the Mindanao region in the southern Philippines, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez said senior government authorities had approved the decision to turn down the hosting in light of the conflict now gripping the city on Mindanao island, reported.

She said militants in Indonesia and Malaysia could redouble efforts to attack police and may also target foreigners.

DR SIDNEY JONES, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.

Ipac said the Marawi conflict "has lifted the prestige of Philippine fighters in the eyes of ISIS central" and "inspired young extremists from around the region to want to join". "Their leaders are all anti-Muslim symbols", it said, claiming the order came from Bahrumsyah, head of an IS combat unit in Syria consisting mostly of fighters from South-East Asia; and Mahmud, who is said to be providing ideological guidance to all militants now fighting in the war-torn southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Mahmud received at least US$55,000 (S$75,000) from January to March this year - apparently sent by Bahrumsyah from the Middle East to Indonesia, and later wired to the Philippines via USA financial services firm Western Union.

Bahrumsyah had another courier send an unspecified amount from Indonesia.

"The report confirms what some of us analysts have been warning for a while - that ISIS Central is very serious about establishing a foothold in South-east Asia", said the head of policy studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

The duo also recruited militants from four terrorist groups in Indonesia to help their Filipino counterparts mount the attack.

The IPAC said the battle had led to greater coordination between extremist groups across Southeast Asia and strengthened capacity among pro-Daesh cells in Indonesia and Malaysia.

For instance, Mahmud has managed to unite two feuding pro-ISIS networks in Indonesia.

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