Officials: SE Asia ISIS Setting Up Shop in Southern Philippines

Video Urges Regional Islamists to Unite Under Abu Sayyaf Leader

by Jason Ditz, June 23, 2016

Officials are reporting a new video from ISIS as announcing their plans to establish an affiliate in southeast Asia, with the deployment to happen in the southern Philippines. The group is said to have released a 20-minute video to that effect, with Malaysian ISIS member Mohd Rafi Udin urging regional Islamists who can’t get to Syria to “go to the Philippines.”

Udin urges the new group to “unite” under the leadership of Philippine militant leader Abu Abdullah, a key figureĀ  of Abu Sayyaf, who pledged loyalty to ISIS back in January.

Abu Sayyaf is based around the southwestern Philippines, and has launched some major terrorist attacks since its inception. The group has expressed solidarity with ISIS for quite some time, and has targeted not just Philippines citizens, but Westerners regularly.

Abdullah, born Isnilon Hapilon, is a major support of ISIS and a top member of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List, with a US bounty of $5 million offered for information on his location.

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